In what started as a good intended suggestion took a turn for the bizarre at Thursday afternoon's Rocky View School Council meetings.

Darrell Couture, Associate Superintendent of Business and Operations, and the usual resource for questions dealing with accounting presented to council a report that suggested that the land around the Education Centre, which was purchased back in 2007 for the purpose of the facility and other projects, had devalued the anticipated sale proceeds. The new number of roughly $4.7M was not enough to cover the current deficit in capital reserves of just over $5.1M.

To add to that, remaining expenditures, which normally would have come out of capital reserves, needed to be taken care of, which included their final off-site levy charge from the City of Airdrie of $579,525 and $475,000 for required improvements (Topsoil, seed, pathways, curb replacement, etc.). A total bill of $1,054,525 needed to allocated, and it was the recommendation of Couture to move it into their Maintenance Block of funding. This suggestion was made to make sure that full transparency was maintained, as a charge added to the capital funds would just hide the operating costs as a future operating deficit would be hidden within the capital fund.

After a delay in a motion forwarded, Ward 5 Trustee Colleen Munro added another option within a motion of asking the City of Airdrie for "forgiveness" on their final off-site levy charge, which had already been paid, but unallocated.

"This is a classic case of being caught between rock and a hard place," according to Munro. "When we made this decision 3 years ago, the market was quite different. We thought we'd be able to develop this area quicker, and be able to recover the costs."

She also pointed out that the relationship between RVS and the City had improved in that time as well.

"I do believe this is showing due diligence on the part of the board of trustees."

Ward 1 Trustee Sylvia Eggerer supported the motion, pointing out that the Division had provided the land for a high school to go on their property, something the City should have been expected to do.

"We are providing the high school site, not the City of Airdrie," explained Eggerer. "Those 25 acres have been whittled down to 19 acres because of road widening. We have taken on the role of developer, the charges for us are not only for around the Education Centre, the charges are for all the sites."

After Ward 3 Trustee Don Thomas pointed out the board should have been more vigilant ahead of time, Council Chair Dr. Bruce Pettigrew weighed in with his thoughts.

"I will not support this alternative," stated Pettigrew. "Things changed that we didn't anticipate. We made a deal on information we had at the time. If someone can tell me what something will be worth in 2015, I'll make a heck of a deal and make a lot of money."

Pettigrew pointed out that they may have over evaluated the property back in 2007, and that the City would be picking up the tab on decisions made with general accounting principles, and ultimately their responsibility.

Munro closed the motion by with some optimism.

"I don't think it will do any harm. I don't think they'll say yes. But what if they do?"

The motion passed 5-1. Dr. Bruce Pettigrew was the only vote against, with Ward 1 Trustee Norma Lang abstaining from the vote without explanation. I wasn't long after the motion was passed that Pettigrew called for a recess. While media stepped out, council seemed to hold a closed door session.

When council returned, focus was back on where to allocate the remaining $475,000 as there was no money involved with the anticipated land sale.

Couture pointed out that the council had until year end, being August 31, to finalize where the money would ultimately come from, but a decision had to be made as to where it was going to come from in the mean time, from an area that had a surplus.

"This is not an unusual thing," according to Couture, referring to the situation they were put in due to land values. "In the States, they've been taking charges all over the place."

When Thomas made a motion to charge the remaining bill out of the Maintenance Block to pay for the outage, Vice Chair Bev LePeare asked to be excused due to conflict of interest. She would not return until discussions on the topic ended.

After more clarification, the motion was unanimously passed.

Rocky View Schools will now go to the City of Airdrie to ask for leniency on the last payment made, and will revisit the issue after hearing the response from City Hall.