Adam Robertson rebuild top-ranked option for Creston schools

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  • Mar. 3, 2016 10:00 a.m.

The School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) facilities review has identified rebuilding Adam Robertson Elementary School (ARES) as the overall highest-ranked scenario, an audience of about 40, mostly educators, was told by staff on Feb. 25.

The Creston “family of schools” facilities review presentation, part of a district-wide series of meetings, at Prince Charles Theatre offered 15 suggestions gleaned from staff and the general public, which included closures and/or reconfigurations of various schools.

“This is not the plan,” said secretary-treasurer Kim Morris. “This is the data that will inform the development of the plan.”

“We’re looking for input on the way we scored,” said Supt. Jeff Jones.

The results — which the audience was told would be available yesterday — will be made available tomorrow afternoon at www.sd8.bc.ca, and were based on economic, educational, operational and strategic criteria applied to the suggestions and scored by Morris, Jones, independent learning director Ben Eaton and operations director Larry Brown.

Each category carried a different weight, with education topping them at 40 per cent, and with strategic at 19 per cent. But with economic and operations, both of which dealt with different financial aspects, totalling 41 per cent — one point over education — a few audience members took exception.

“I feel like I’m getting a snow job here,” said Prince Charles Secondary School (PCSS) teacher Al Gribbin.

Former Adam Robertson Elementary School principal Rod Giles suggested that teachers and educators should have been involved in scoring the educational component.

“That’s exactly what we want the community to do,” said Morris. “Did they consider the right things? Did they miss anything?”

The feedback period runs through the end of March, with a draft plan being created in April, and the board expected to make a final decision for each of six families of schools (Nelson, Creston, Crawford Bay and Kaslo, Salmo, Slocan) at its May 3 meeting. A few audience members expressed dissatisfaction with the short time period, which includes two weeks of spring break.

“I don’t think that it’s fair asking families and teachers, who are taking spring break and recouping,” to meet to discuss the report, said an audience member.

“There’s never a good time,” responded Morris.

The rebuild of ARES was the top-ranked overall choice, with 61.02 per cent, and was followed by simply closing the Creston Education Centre (CEC, 54.3), decommissioning the PCSS “bubble” and expanding the gymnasium (52.7) and closing the CEC and moving its programs to other schools (52.7).

Top results in the individual categories were: Economic: closing ARES and moving students to Canyon-Lister Elementary School and CEC; Educational: a tie between closing the CEC and maintaining the status quo; Operational: rebuilding ARES; and Strategic: decommissioning the PCSS “bubble” and expanding the gymnasium.

Based on feedback, some of the options may be rescored before the draft plan is created, and the final choice may not be the top-scorer.

“It doesn’t mean we’re taking the top one or two,” said Morris.

The start of the facilities review process previously saved Homelinks students from being moved out of the CEC at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

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