Rocky View School (RVS) Board of Trustees has approved a five-year lease agreement with an 18-month termination clause with SAGE properties for the Prince of Peace Lutheran School on March 7.
A motion carried stated if SAGE directors do not approve the lease agreement by March 18, the Prince of Peace Lutheran School will close effective June 30.
“We let this go on, and on, and on. We need to make a decision. Tthe board has been tweaking the lease agreement between SAGE properties for months” said RVS Board Trustee Fiona Gilbert.
If SAGE properties do not approve the lease agreement, there are no other options for the RVS School Board.
“It may come across as a threat, but we don’t mean it to. I want everyone to know we’ve done our due diligence,” Gilbert said.
“We can’t continue the negotiations any longer. We need to have a decision made for parents, for families, for staff and for students,” Gilbert said.
RVS Board Trustee Shali Bazuik said, SAGE properties have been given ample opportunity to review a lease and return with changes.
“What we have gained in return is a disregard for deadline, and that has an impact on people in this community,” Baziuk said.
“I don’t want to come across as threatening, but I absolutely want to come across as direct, and very clear that last minute changes are not something we can accept,” she said.
If the lease agreement is approved by SAGE properties, RVS Superintendent Greg Luterbach proposed solutions for families who are facing uncertainty.
“We know that SAGE has been very upfront, and their mandate is to ultimately sell that facility. We need to be prepared that we may not be in that building for five-years,” he said.
Luterbach presented two recommendations on how to deal with significant space pressures, including, changing the grade configuration of the Prince of Peace Lutheran School to be grade one to nine, which was defeated by a tie.
RVS Board Trustee Todd Brand said it is sometimes wise to let the dust settle and have more time to reflect on situations.
“At the same time, I feel we could be losing an opportunity by not making this change, it is with some hesitancy that I’m leaning one direction,” Brand said.
Gilbert added, changing the grade configuration is not a long-term solution but would reduce the number of students in the facility.
The second recommendation Luterbach presented was to not accept any new RVS resident students effective immediately, which was carried by the board.
“Both recommendations address the situation that if the school is closed there would be fewer students impacted,” Luterbach said.
“It’s not saying we’re not welcoming students. Our mandate is to provide good educational opportunities to students and families of RVS,” Gilbert said.
“When we have space, we would love to welcome all neighbours,” she added.
Brand added, RVS needs to reduce the number of students who are coming from out of the county, in order to have more space for students who are county residents.
RVS Board Trustee Jim Forrest said, “We’ve knocked around a number of alternatives already about ways we could manage the student population but still need more time to adequality investigate that, look at it, and carefully consider them.”