Roaring Fork School District education programs likely to see stimulus funds |

Roaring Fork School District education programs likely to see stimulus funds

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Roaring Fork district schools will probably see some of the estimated $900 million in federal education stimulus dollars coming into Colorado for specific programs.

However, funds geared toward school construction and capital needs are not very likely, according to Shannon Pelland, Roaring Fork School District’s assistant superintendent of business services.

The statewide funds will be distributed in three areas, she said, including the Title I reading literacy program and for special education.

“For sure we know we will get some of those funds on a formula basis,” Pelland said. “But we don’t know for sure how much it will be, nor do we know what kinds of strings will be attached.”

However, Roaring Fork schools are unlikely to benefit from money in the third category, capital funding.

Most of that money will go to lower-income school districts around the state, especially those that have had difficulty passing bond issues, Pelland said.

She noted that the state of Colorado was sued a few years ago over facility inadequacy in some of the poorer school districts.

“And in some of the agriculture property tax-based districts, they haven’t been able to pass a bond issue to update schools,” she said. “The word was some of these buildings were literally crumbling around the students.”

Money for capital needs will likely be prioritized for those districts.

“Because our district has been able to pass bond issues, we probably will not be one that would benefit from those capital dollars,” Pelland said.

District voters passed an $86 million bond issue in 2004, which resulted in the new Glenwood Springs High School building, the new Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, expansion of Carbondale’s Crystal River Elementary School, and renovation of the former RFHS building to serve as the new Carbondale Middle School facility.

Statewide, roughly $760 million of the economic aid for K-12 schools is intended to help prevent severe layoffs and other cuts that many districts are facing due to the economic downturn.

Contact John Stroud: 384-9160

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