John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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October 3, 2008
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Roaring Fork School District teachers and administrators keep the buses rolling for students

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Larry Estrada knows how lucky he is as the Roaring Fork School District's transportation director having teachers and other administration volunteer to help out with bus driving."I've been fortunate having a lot of our drivers being teachers, and it works out pretty well," Estrada said. Teachers like Sopris Elementary fourth-grade teacher Jim Benson, who has been with RFSD for 20 years and has driven a bus the entire time."It's just good extra income," Benson said. "And at the same time, the district likes having teachers driving buses because we already know the kids and the kids know us."Cliff Colia, first-year principal at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, has also driven a bus for about 15 years. While he doesn't drive a daily route as Benson does, Colia helps out in other ways, like with field trips and athletic events. Sometimes those are the trips for which it is hardest to find available drivers."The deal is, it may be hard to get a driver for those trips because it may just be an hour trip or so," Colia said. "But we like to make those trips happen."So, teachers and administrators alike will throw on the bus driver's cap in order to make some of the special learning opportunities happen for the students. Be it a day trip to Ruedi Dam or a week-long annual field trip to Mesa Verde, Colia and about 17 other RFSD employees are ready to shift into gear."The thing is this: We all feel that our students should be able to take advantage of all the great cultural, natural, political and social resources the valley has to offer," Colia said. "There are so many opportunities for the students, and I would hate to see them not be able to go on these trips just because we can't find a driver."Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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The Post Independent Updated Oct 6, 2008 02:57AM Published Oct 3, 2008 02:00AM Copyright 2008 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.