By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
Parents of children attending the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 are being asked to complete a “parent satisfaction survey,” posted on the school’s website (www.rfsd.k12.co.us), that at the very end asks how parents and the community feel about being asked whether to raise property taxes to pay for school construction.
Information about a possible tax question on the November 2015 ballot is available on the website, along with the survey questionnaire and other information (see sidebar for details).
According to the website, the school board talked about putting a tax hike to voters at its May 27 meeting, although no decisions were made at that meeting.
The discussion, however, centered around the district’s recent receipt of a $9.1 million BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant from the Colorado Board of Education, and the likely necessity of a tax hike to pay the remainder of the estimated $28 million needed to renovate and add onto the historic Glenwood Springs Elementary School.
That project, according to an announcement on the district’s website, also would involve removal of two “ancillary buildings” on the GSES campus.
To ensure receipt of the grant, according to the announcement, “the district must pass a bond issue to complete the renovation budget.”
The 37-question survey largely is taken up with queries about parents’ perceptions of such issues as:
• The quality of the education being dispensed by the district;
• The safety of the environment at schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt;
• The district’s ability to fairly and adequately deal with “problems and conflicts” and with such issues as bullying, teasing and harassment among students;
• How well the school communicates with parents;
• And how up-to-date the district is in terms of electronic equipment in the classrooms, among other matters.
At the end, questions 36 and 37 deal with the district’s Facilities Master Plan, a document intended to evaluate the district’s needs over the next five to seven years, and how the survey respondents would react to a ballot question authorizing the district to issue general obligation bonds to pay for improvements to school facilities.
Among the needed improvements identified in the Facilities Master Plan, besides renovating the aging GSES, are:
• A new school between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, to provide “enrollment relief” for elementary and middle schools in the two communities;
• Improving drainage, traffic circulation and playgrounds at Sopris Elementary in Glenwood Springs;
• Modernization of all of the district’s middle schools;
• Improved traffic circulation to enhance safety at Basalt middle and elementary schools;
• Energy efficiency improvements to all buildings;
• Relocation of the existing bus barn facility in Carbondale, to a new site in El Jebel;
• And acquiring a site for a future school in the Blue Lake subdivision near El Jebel.
No dollar amounts were attached to the list of improvements laid out on the website, beyond the money sought to renovate GSES, and no predictions about the size of the tax hike were included.
The survey will be up on the website and open to respondents until June 15, according to the district.
Published in The Sopris Sun on June 11, 2015.