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Trustees seeking forgiveness on levies

RVS Notebook: From the Feb. 2 trustees' meeting

By: Trevor Bacque

  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 06:00 am

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Rocky View Schools asked the City of Airdrie to forgo a final off-site levy payment of $579,525 to keep the school division’s capital reserves from plunging deeper in debt.

The division paid $2.38 million in off-site levies to the City between 2008 and 2011. The last payment has already gone through, but trustees are showing remorse.

“This is a classic case of being caught between a rock and a hard place,” said Colleen Munro, Ward 5 trustee.

The school division has two parcels ready to be developed on its land, 2.5 and 6.2 acres in size, but neither has sold. They have a combined value estimated at $4.7 million.

The school division paid levies on the Education Centre, west of Eighth Street, since it owns the land.

Therefore, the school division is acting as the developer and will use a portion of the land to house the city’s third high school.

“It’s the obligation to the City to provide school sites,” said Sylvia Eggerer, Ward 3 trustee. “They should be giving us land. Those 25 acres have been whittled down to 19 acres because of road widening.”

“Development costs of the site appear to be a never-ending story,” said Don Thomas, Ward 3 trustee. He added it’s a “very good idea” to ask the City to return the division’s capital.

Board chair Bruce Pettigrew voiced opposition to the idea.

“We made a deal on good information at the time,” he said. “That’s our responsibly. We have an issue. I will not support this alternative.”

The board later agreed, however, to pay the City $475,000 towards required improvements for the yet-to-be-built high school site, including spreading topsoil, installing pathways, landscaping, trees, fencing and curb replacements.

The $475,000 will be charged to RVS’ maintenance department, not the capital reserves, as was first decided March 5, 2009.

The City of Airdrie council met Feb. 6 and discussed the item in-camera and did not answer questions about whether a decision was reached. Angela Spanier, school spokesperson, said she does not expect the levy to be overlooked.

Bus service extended

Rocky View Schools’ trustees agreed to add busing service from Airdrie to Crossfield for W.G. Murdoch’s National Sports Development hockey program.

Many Airdrie students will attend the program and will be coming from already full schools. The additional distance will be 36 kilometres each school day.

The service will cost $1.40 per kilometre each day and provincial grants are available for eligible Airdrie students.

The school division also provides alternate busing service from Langdon to Indus and Cochrane to Westbrook.


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