Staffing solutions focus of Wednesday Roaring Fork School District Board meeting
The staffing crisis at Roaring Fork Schools is slated for much discussion in the Wednesday Board of Education meeting.
Board members will be asked to approve ballot language on a mill levy override to source up to $7.7 million primarily for employee salary increases and to act on a critical shortage resolution, formalizing the district’s shortage in a legal sense that reduces limitations on hiring recent retirees.
“The labor pool is as bad as our leaders have ever seen it,” the school board staff memo on the resolution reads.
The Roaring Fork School District has the third-highest cost of living in the state but ranks 37th in teacher wages. The memo says that because of this, candidates will often rescind their acceptance of job offers.
The district is recruiting for 57 positions, 68 if coaching jobs are included. According to the memo, job postings can sit for weeks without a single applicant.
Declaring a critical shortage allows the district to hire teachers, school bus drivers and food services workers who have recently retired under the Public Employees Retirement Association without being subjected to a cap of 110 or 140 days of work. The declaration, however, does not allow for the hiring of other positions, like custodial.
The proposed mill levy override would increase local property taxes to boost wages. The district is already receiving $8.8 million in mill levy override funds, but an approval of the new levy would max out the amount of funding legally available from that pool, adding up to 25% of the district’s total program funding. The actual numerical figure has fluctuated in discussions as the percentage of program funding changes annually.
Roaring Fork Schools currently receives $1,597 per pupil through mill levy override funding, less than any neighboring district and nearly half the amount of Aspen 1, which sources $3,025.
Approval of the action item on the mill levy override would place the resolution on the November ballot.
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