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District plans housing for its teachers

Donna Gray

Roaring Fork School District Re-1 has a plan for keeping its teachers. Besides winning a strong vote of confidence from citizens who supported a mill levy override to raise teachers’ salaries and a bond issue to upgrade school buildings, the school district also plans to build affordable housing.Housing costs, and salaries that don’t go far enough to cover those costs, have long been at the root of Re-1’s high teacher turnover, reaching about 20 percent annually.”We’ve been working on it for a couple of years,” said Re-1 school superintendent Fred Wall.The district has land behind Basalt High School it won’t need for school expansion, Wall said.”We have such a need for affordable housing in Basalt,” he added.The district has plans for 27 units, most of which will be rental townhouses and apartments, Wall said. The mix will also include six single-family homes that will be sold on the free market but deed-restricted with caps on resale value to keep them affordable.Wall said the key to the plan is finding a developer who will undertake the project. The district has no intention of building the project.”Our motivation is that it won’t cost the district (any money). We’ll provide the land,” he said, and the developer would construct the buildings.”It won’t come out of the bond proceeds,” Wall said.Wall said the district is working with Basalt developer Ted Guy on the project.Re-1 also recognizes a need in Carbondale, Wall said. “If we can figure out an efficient way (to build the project in Basalt) we’ll replicate it in Carbondale,” he said.Carbondale Elementary School is slated to be “taken off-line” when Crystal River Elementary is built out, Wall said. At that point the property could be used for affordable housing. Carbondale Elementary School is slated to be “taken off-line” when Crystal River Elementary is built out, Wall said. At that point the property could be used for affordable housing.


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