Roaring Fork Schools board formally adopts ’20-22 calendars, approves bond refinancing
A new school year calendar for the next two years that will include an earlier end to classes in May was given final approval by the Roaring Fork Schools Board of Education Tuesday night.
The 2020-21 and 2021-22 calendars had been given a preliminary nod following a school board presentation in early March. The new calendars largely mirror the 2019-20 calendar, which currently has been interrupted by the mandated school facility closures in Colorado due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The biggest changes will be a longer summer break due to the school year ending in late May, a shorter spring break (5 school days instead of 7), shorter fall breaks and revised parent-teacher conference dates.
The 2020-21 school year will start a bit earlier than usual, on Aug. 17, allowing the first semester to end before winter break. That was an important element of the current-year calendar, and also helps to end the school year before June, according to a district news release issued after the Tuesday meeting.
The changes were made based on data collected from over 2,000 students, staff, parents and community members that indicated the majority of respondents generally were satisfied with the current calendar but wanted these small changes, district officials said.
A special calendar committee included teachers and administrators from schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, as well as district and board representatives. The group spent more than 25 hours discussing guiding values and parameters for the calendar, creating a feedback survey, analyzing the data collected, and then developing the draft calendars.
Priorities in setting the school-year calendar include supporting teachers and students to do their best teaching and learning, weighing economic considerations and supporting recreation/vacation/family time, according to RFSD Superintendent Rob Stein.
“Each of these values is important, which is why we try our best to honor all of them while also attending to feedback that we hear from our community,” he said.
Bond refinancing to save taxpayers $2.1 million
Also following through on a previously discussed matter, the school board on Tuesday approved the refinancing of approximately $27.7 million in bonds that were issued in 2011 and 2012.
The refinance takes advantage of lower interest rates and is projected to save school district taxpayers about $365,000 per year, or a total of about $2.1 million, in property taxes over the next six years.
“This is a routine, straightforward transaction for the district,” Nathan Markham, director of finance for the district, said in a release. “We are always monitoring the market so we can take advantage of the lowest interest rates possible and save our taxpayers money.”
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Several Carbondale businesses are scrambling to relocate and others are just plain calling it quits following plans for one of the town’s oldest strip malls to be redeveloped.