Remember College Inn

International school comes with the possibility of losing money and resources, Parksville may want to reconsider

If nothing else, School District 69 Supt. Rollie Koop has immense chutzpah to associate the district with the proposed international school.

The thinking that if you build it, students will come and drop $35K for a cross-Canada educational junket while subsidizing Canadian kids’ fare ($1,500) on the same grand tour is brave thinking indeed. The assumption being that the foreign students’ parents won’t question this cost difference is based on what? Our sunny climate, our small town atmosphere, our distance from large urban centres?

But wait, the district is supposedly only on the hook for leasing out vacant school property and some staff time. How much staff time will be required of the new international student administrator the district recently appointed to manage this relationship? What about the extra time the classroom teachers will need to spend with the additional ESL students? Is some of the cost/tuition difference covering this, or does this margin belong to the investors?

At a recent Rotary meeting, ISEF director Jonathon Reynolds made a presentation. Unfortunately, the presentation was not very informative regarding business structures, market readiness, competition — basic business plan preparedness. Perhaps we should be immensely grateful SD 69 is only paying for the coordinator and the extra burden of more ESL students with no extra assistance.

We can only hope that SD 69’s losses are minimal should this adventure continue. Better yet would be to truly understand the business risks and leave the real possibility of losing money and resources to investors who are better able to afford it than SD69. For those who don’t remember or know, in the mid 1990s a very similar project began and failed utterly at the Qualicum College Inn.

Gordon Svenson

Parksville

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