Rutland needs a new school

Rutland Middle School (RMS) will soon be 72 years old! Sadly from many perspectives: health, safety, accessibility, environmental, and financial this school is failing.

The Ministry of Education are failing the students, staff and families of this area of Kelowna by not approving the replacement of RMS. Even though it was included in the five-year Capital Plan that has been submitted by School District 23.

This disappointing decision can only be interpreted as RMS students do not matter to the Ministry of Education.

The Pandemic has only made the health inequities in schools like RMS more visible and concerning. Lack of bathroom facilities, the increasing number of old portable classrooms that are being used, heating and air conditioning equipment that is constantly requiring repair every school year, facilities that are in disrepair, and lack of access to any individual that has any form of physical challenge.

It would have been my hope that the Ministry of Education would have recognized these concerns cannot wait another 5, 10 or 20 years to be resolved. But instead they did not.

It is clear that education and the buildings our children attend have not been a priority to previous governments and the current government is struggling to keep up. All due to lack of investment, lack of foresight and neglect by elected officials. The Ministry of Education need to be held accountable for their inaction.

Schools are not just buildings in which education is delivered, but they are also buildings where students and staff should feel their health and safety are a priority. The replacement of schools is as equally important as building new schools – this is responsible decision making, to do otherwise is neglect.

It is time to prioritize ALL of our children.

Marie Howell, RMS Parent Advisory Committee President

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