Growth has impacts on schools, too
Growth – it’s become the buzzword of the valley.Growth in the natural gas industry, population growth, housing growth. Everyone is dealing with growth in the valley, from the worker seeing more cars during his morning commute, to the mother who can’t find a day care slot because they are all full; from the business person seeing an increase in demand for services, to the municipalities that need to upgrade their water and sewer services.And yes, schools are seeing the impacts of growth, too. As the population base increases in the valley, some of those people have children. In fact, it seems that many of those people have children. Every year on Oct. 1, or the first school day after Oct. 1, the state takes the official head count for school districts. Any student enrolled in school and present on Oct. 1 is counted, and that number becomes the official enrollment number for the school district.This year on Oct. 2, early numbers indicate that the Garfield School District Re-2 grew 7 percent from last year. That translates to approximately 250 students. If you assume 25 students to a class, that is 10 new classes, all requiring teachers, desks, books and a classroom.This year Re-2 added five modular classrooms to help accommodate this growth. Rifle Middle School, Wamsley Elementary, Highland Elementary and Kathryn Senor Elementary were all recipients of these modulars, and for the first time in several years, Roy Moore Elementary is using its portable classroom.Indications are that growth will continue in the valley at the same, if not an accelerated, rate. The state demographer’s office issued data last year indicating that Garfield County will grow by about 4.6 percent for the next five to 15 years. Recently, BBC Research and Consulting presented a report to the Garfield County commissioners that by the year 2030, Re-2 will likely have an enrollment of 16,602 students – a quadrupling in the size of the school district in just 25 years.It is this growth that was one of the motivating factors for the Re-2 school board to request a bond initiative this November. Seven of the eight Re-2 school buildings will receive renovations and three new schools – a replacement of Roy Moore Elementary in Silt, a new elementary school in Rifle and a new middle school in New Castle – will be built. Roy Moore Elementary is in desperate need of being replaced because of the many structural issues it is developing, and the new Rifle elementary and New Castle middle school are necessary to handle the additional students.If you would like additional information about the Re-2 bond and mill levy initiatives (3A and 3B), please attend the informational forum at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Re-2 Learning Opportunities Center at 839 Whiteriver Ave. in Rifle. You can always call Theresa Hamilton at 625-7621 for information on any issue across the Garfield School District Re-2.Exceptional bus studentsRe-2 exceptional bus students for the months of August and September are all from Jodie Steggall’s Route No. 14, and they include Roy Moore Elementary student Tessa Van Lue, Rifle Middle School student Clara Del Grande, and Rifle High School student Thomas Van Lue.Other nominees were from Coal Ridge High School: Megan Raherty, Takya Iwataki, Tyler Miller and Todd Scott; from Highland Elementary: Jonathan Rivera and Lilly Workman; from Kathryn Senor Elementary: William Shaner; from Rifle High School: Kyle Hanneman; from Rifle Middle School: Aseal Amaya, Elizabeth Navarro, Alex Rippy and Taylor Sandquist; from Roy Moore Elementary: Abygale Bedow, Breanna Black and Isabelle Brintnall; and from Wamsley Elementary, Hailey Ligon.Congratulations to all of these students.Theresa Hamilton is director of districtwide services for Garfield School District Re-2. She can be reached at 625-7621.
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