School District No. 8 brass rolls out potential facilities plans to public
The third round of public meetings regarding long range school district facilities planning in the Nelson area was held Wednesday night, with officials showcasing and explaining the scoring and likelihood of multiple scenarios while encouraging feedback from the public.
The evening was hosted by Kim Morris, Secretary-Treasurer for Kootenay Lake School District No. 8, and also featured Jeff Jones, Superintendent, Larry Brown, Director of Operations, and Ben Eaton, Director of Independent Learning Services.
The presentation was geared towards explaining the scoring system used by the board to determine the future of schools in the area, with a focus on students first.
“We want to provide the best learning environments we can for students, and we’ve said from the beginning of the process that we’re not out here to save money or to downsize the school district,” Morris said.
“We’re to talk about learning environments and learning opportunities for students.”
Morris said the scoring system was based on 16 points, divided into four groups. These groups, Economic, Educational, Operational and Strategic were given different weights with Educational holding the most at 40 per cent.
“The board asked itself what it wanted from a facilities plan, then it asked how important is each criteria. . .. Then we take the scenarios through the criteria with the weight and give it a score, and you’ll be seeing those tonight,” Morris explained.
Three independent teams did the scoring, each with a focus on an individual group, with a goal in mind that different perspectives would allow for a better focus on the important details.
The overall scoring results were ranked according to this process, and several scenarios were listed as having the highest scores.
Scenario No. 29, “Close Trafalgar; Elementary K-6; LVR Grades 7-12”, scored the highest at 81.45, followed by No. 3, “Close South Nelson Elementary, Rebuild Trafalgar Middle School” at 79.62, and scenario No. 4 “Close South Nelson Elementary, Close Blewett Elementary, Rebuild Trafalgar Middle School” at 70.26.
The rankings shown Wednesday night were not a district rollup, but a “snapshot” of the Nelson family of schools.
District rollup, which will include possible administration relocation, will happen during preparation for the first draft of the facilities plan.
“You can see how the different scenarios weighted and scored under the different criteria are starting to take shape and come together in terms of that whole scenario for the family of schools,” Morris said.
District Pac Chairperson, Sheri Walsh wasn’t sure what to expect during the presentation.
“I had been curious about how the more potentially subjective criteria would be scored and found that staff and developed a well thought out and fairly objective process which was well described in the presentation,” said Walsh.
“I am now curious how the results of the scenario scoring in the entire district will be taken into account when the plan is drafted and if and how those scenarios that were not scored may be re-considered,” Walsh added.
Following the presentation, attendees were encouraged to take a look at the hard numbers for all the scoring and how it came about and provide comment.
The period for feedback will be from March 3 – 28, and following analysis and deliberation the 4th round of public meetings will commence on March 30 – April 7, with a board approved facilities plan aimed for May 3rd.
This time frame is a bit of a concern for Walsh.
“I feel parents are concerned about the very short time frame allowed for reviewing and commenting on the information presented, especially when 17 of the 26 day comment period is during spring break when many families are away,” Walsh said.
For more information, including a review of scoring details, go to www.sd8.bc.ca, and to make your voice heard please send any emails to firstname.lastname@example.org