New education foundation combines existing three |

New education foundation combines existing three

Carrie ClickPost Independent Staff

A new education foundation was launched Thursday to cover the entire Roaring Fork School District, unifying independent foundations from Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.Roaring Fork superintendent Fred Wall announced the Roaring Fork Public School Foundation at the School Board meeting Wednesday evening.Wall said the three communities’ eight-member boards will be merged into a new 24-member board for the new foundation. foundation: see page A6foundation: from page A3The board also discussed reaching out to the public via a radio show, and rising health insurance costs.Board member Sue Hakanson said she’d spoken with Mary Suma, director of KDNK public radio in Carbondale, about an evening question-and-answer talk show on KDNK.Re-1 board President Robin Garvik expressed interest in the show. Board member Peter Delany said a radio program might provide a good way to discuss student achievement issues. Hakanson was encouraged to pursue the idea with KDNK.Garvik also suggested the board hire a contracted public relations person.”We don’t have the time or the resources to do this ourselves,” Garvik said, but noted that a person on a contract basis could write so many pieces per month. Shannon Pelland, school district financial director, said the district is facing an 8 percent increase in health insurance funding.”That’s a $185,000 rate increase for us,” she said.Currently, the district spends approximately $360 per month per employee for health insurance. Pelland hopes to limit price increases to 3 or 4 percent, putting the per-employee cost at $375 for the 2003-04 school year. “If we don’t, it may mean no salary increases,” she said. Pelland said the district has distributed a benefits survey to all employees.Under the current plan, employees’ health, vision and dental expenses are covered. Pelland asked employees if they would like those benefits to become optional to keep down costs. “It’s a pretty big change,” Pelland said of the pick-and-choose plan, but noted the Garfield Re-2 School District and Colorado Mountain College went that way with their insurance. All three use the Colorado Education Benefit Trust insurance plan. Once all the surveys are back in, Pelland will make a final recommendation to the board. Also at the meeting:-Wall reported on the district’s plan for its school buildings. Currently, each building is being evaluated, and staff is listing the most essential improvements.-Hakanson said seven candidates are being interviewed Thursday and Friday for the assistant high school principal position at Glenwood Springs High School. -The board discussed the retirement of Jim Phillips, the Glenwood Springs Elementary School principal. The district was planning a retirement party for Phillips, though Phillips has asked that all of this year’s retirees from the district be honored at the party. The event is scheduled for 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.-Hakanson reported people are enjoying Glenwood Springs High School’s spring musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” so much, they’re going to see it twice. Garvik said Carbondale Elementary School’s art show is not to be missed. Peter Delany said Basalt Elementary school earned second place in a national science competition. -The board discussed Basalt’s affordable housing project. The consensus was that since the district has the land to build the development – located behind the Basalt High School – that it should look at that project ahead of others. Basalt architect Ted Guy told the board “your timing is perfect,” noting that because of the community reinvestment act, the district could likely get 100 percent financing, using its land as collateral.

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