RVS trustees frustrated with lack of funding
Several Rocky View Schools trustees expressed frustration with the funding allocated from the Province for facility maintenance and renewal needs, Feb. 7.
According to a board report, RVS is anticipating a $231,265 shortfall in funding for its estimated $3.2 million of necessary projects.
Those projects include roofing and flooring upgrades in several schools, replacing windows, changing lights and making reworking rooms to accommodate for growth and board priorities.
“This report makes me very sad,” said Trustee Norma Lang. “We are using a lot of the money intended to improve our facilities (for) classroom spaces.”
Lang said she would like to see those dollars taken from the capital budget, rather than the infrastructure and maintenance renewal funds.
Trustee Colleen Munro agreed.
“We are painting ourselves into a corner to make sure our kids have functional learning spaces,” she said.
Darrell Couture, RVS’ associate superintendent, said the organization heavily prioritized upcoming projects.
In his report, Couture presented the board with a recommendation for additional projects to be funded from RVS’ cash-in-lieu funding.
Those projects, estimated to cost about $880,000, include paving the Cochrane Tri-School and Banded Peak parking lots, installing sewage pump-out tanks at Banded Peak School, replacing the drainage line at Westbrook School, installing a water tank at Kathyrn School and a dimmer rack at Bert Church High School.
“We need to start spending more money on enhanced programs,” said Couture. “(The project list) is heavily prioritized, we could be spending more money.”
Trustee Bev LaPeare asked how RVS would cover the shortfall.
“We hope the shortfall will be less than what is here, but it will be carried over to 2014,” said Couture. “We will start the year in the hole. It’s not good news, it means we are borrowing from the future. We are living off the future, but it is what it is.”
Superintendent Greg Bass reminded board members that some of the projects for education spaces, such as converting libraries and computer labs to classrooms, are being done to follow priorities set out by RVS.
“There are some here that are very purposeful … for where we are going as a board,” he said.
LaPeare expressed frustration that many upgrades needed in Rocky View may not have even made it to the list.
“Some of the projects identified for modernization are never going to happen because we keep growing,” said LaPeare. “We shouldn’t be put into that spot.”
Bass said the board should be very proud of RVS’ facilities.
“We constantly get compliments about our schools,” he said. “Yes, we will always have needs.”