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RFSD Update

Photo courtesy Suzie Romig/RFSDGlenwood Springs High School science department chair Mike Wilde is just one example of the districts talented teachers. Now in his 24th year in the district, Wilde keeps freshman Bryce Faulkner (on floor) and students (from left) Humberto Rodriguez, Karen Lopez-Chavez, Jhovana Garcia and JoAnna De La Torre engaged in a physics unit called Dr. Doom and the pendulum of death.
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Although the Roaring Fork School District is one of the most recognized entities in the valley, frequently asked questions show not all locals are familiar with the district’s interesting facts and figures. The following information provides a crash course in the RFSD.The district currently serves 4,969 students in preschool through twelfth grade in 12 different schools throughout Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. The student population grows about 1 percent on average each year. The district encompasses 1,118 square miles, including such areas as Canyon Creek, No Name, Missouri Heights and Old Snowmass. As of the latest estimate from summer 2005, the general population of the district stands at 35,861 residents.The RFSD was created in August 1959 by local voter approval of a reorganized Re-1 district within Garfield County following the state-authorized consolidation of multiple smaller districts. The first school in what is now the district started in 1883 in a tent in Glenwood Springs. Today, a beginning RFSD teacher with a bachelor’s degree earns a starting salary of $33,600, a base wage that is currently within the top five highest in the state. The average salary for teachers in the district is $44,238.The mountains, rivers, recreation and small-town character of the area draw talented teachers, 61 percent of whom have earned a master’s degree. According to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal guidelines, 89 percent of the district’s teachers are rated by the state as “highly qualified,” or licensed and endorsed in the core academic area they teach.The average number of years teaching experience in the district is nine. The staffing ratio for the district is one teacher for every 17.3 students.Currently the district includes 752 full- and part-time employees, including 379 classified positions such as bus drivers, administrative assistants, teacher’s aides and custodians; 350 certified staff such as teachers, counselors and librarians; and 23 school or district administrators. For three consecutive years, from 2003 to 2005, student results on both NWEA and CSAP tests in all three areas of reading, writing and math showed more than one year of growth during a school year for significant numbers of both Anglo and Hispanic students. The district met 91 percent of the NCLB learning targets set for the 2004-05 school year. Targets not met include the Latino student graduation rate and reading and math goals for newly-enrolled Latino students.The district’s annual general fund budget is $39 million, with $7,337 allocated for each full-time student. The current general fund budget allocates 72 percent of expenditures for direct and indirect instruction, 10 percent for administration, 10 percent for facility operations including utilities, 4 percent for student transportation, and 4 percent for other support functions. As a result of a conservative budget philosophy, the district is financially sound with a general fund reserve of about $4 million. Only 2.5 percent of the district’s total budget comes from NCLB funds and is dedicated to students who are not meeting NCLB targets. The district provides transportation for 11 schools, with bus drivers traveling more than 600,000 miles each year for activity trips and regular routes. Drivers transport 2,100 students daily, and the drivers have on average 17 years experience.Across the district, 68 percent of kindergarten to 12th-grade students consider English their first language or are proficient in English at enrollment. The ethnic breakdown of the current total student population is 56 percent Anglo, 42 percent Latino and 2 percent other groups.For other RFSD questions, call 384-6000 or e-mail info@rfsd.org.Suzie Romig is the RFSD public information officer.


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