Mel Rothenburger couldn’t have been more uninformed in his recent comments on proposed school projects in S.D. 73. He stated that school populations are, “ever changing due to shifts in how communities grow.”
He fails to state that the Christy Clark Liberal government illegally ignored class size and composition requirements, forcing more students into each classroom and each school; therefore, reducing the number of classrooms needed to house the same total number of students.
At the same time, in one year, they reduced funding in the province by $29 million.
What really happened was the government saved money by crowding students more tightly into classrooms. It’s important to educate oneself and gather all the key information before making such conclusive statements publicly.
Mr. Rothenburger suggested the cost of building new schools was too expensive and could be reduced by providing more portables instead. Again, he is incorrect.
Portables come with very high energy costs and frequent maintenance needs. Tear open a portable and often you will find cheap plywood, particle board, insulating foams and glues — the modular industry often builds to order, and as Rothenburger suggests the buildings should save as much money as possible.
Construct four walls and a roof from that, expose it to the elements for a decade longer than intended and watch your energy and maintenance costs soar. They expose students and teachers to mould and mildew, poor ventilation and the potential for volatile gases from cheap building materials.
Further, students in portables are isolated and vulnerable during school lockdowns, they lack connection to the main building and they don’t feel part of the larger school culture. Do we want schools which build positive culture, or simply isolated buildings which house numbers as cheaply as possible?
Mel Rothenburger’s statements suggest he places little value on the students of our district, and the system as a whole.
Investing in every single proposed school project is obviously unrealistic, but suggesting such poorly researched and cheap solutions makes a clear statement about how much he does not value SD 73 students’ educational experience. Multiple schools in S.D. 73 currently operate far above intended capacity and the crowding creates issues both socially and logistically.
I encourage Mr. Rothenburger to reach out and actually ask students in these schools how they are impacted, instead of ignorantly commenting on what is best. The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.