Program targets Glenwood Springs Middle School students |

Program targets Glenwood Springs Middle School students

John Colson
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” A program to give middle school students something to do after school in Carbondale may be about to spread to Glenwood Springs, and perhaps even to a neighboring school district.

And Garfield County may become one of the program’s sponsors.

The Board of County Commissioners listened to a presentation Monday by the program’s main organizer, Steve Kaufman, whose Access Roaring Fork television production courses have been active in the Basalt schools for several years.

Starting last year, Kaufman expanded the scope of his programming and moved into the Carbondale Middle School, offering a broad range of activities that included classes in art, music and theater, as well as help with homework and a limited athletics program.

In proposing to add the Glenwood Springs Middle School to his programming, Kaufman said, he has the support of the school’s administration and teachers. The schools of Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs are in the Roaring Fork School District.

“The kids just like to hang out,” confirmed incoming principal Sandy DeCrow, who noted that the school district does not offer much in the way of formal activities to keep students occupied. But many tend to stay on the premises after the bell rings anyway.

“This is something that I think would be really, really successful,” she said of Kaufman’s proposal.

Also on hand to lend support to the idea was CMS principal Rick Holt, who reported that in Carbondale the programs had been well received by students.

Although Kaufman was not asking the BOCC for fiscal support right there at the Monday meeting, he said he ultimately would be asking for “a line item in your budget” to ensure regular, annual support.

Kaufman and others at the meeting, including a Garfield County deputy sheriff, said that keeping kids occupied after school is critical in many ways, not the least of which is to keep them away from antisocial behavior, drinking and drugs.

“We’re ultimately going to have to keep the community safe as a consequence of not keeping the children safe,” he warned, explaining that kids will get into trouble if left entirely to their own devices.

Commissioner Tresi Houpt agreed that keeping middle school and older students busy after school is “a very critical concept,” but she noted that other political agencies, such as school districts, are typically expected to provide funding for such needs.

It was pointed out, though, that school districts do not have the money to provide sufficient after-school programming, particularly at the middle school level.

Commissioner John Martin declared, “We have to be convinced that it’s going to work” but quickly added, “We’re not against your program.”

“We just have to have a clear indication of how we can help,” Houpt said.

As the discussion drew to a close, commissioner Mike Samson, who represents the western end of the county, told Kaufman that he appreciates the possible value of the proposal, but continued, “I’m wondering how my constituents are going to look at that. I see all the money going to the Roaring Fork (School District).”

He suggested Kaufman make contact with the Re-2 district, encompassing Rifle, Silt and New Castle, and perhaps the school district in Parachute, before coming back to the commissioners with a formal funding request.

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