Supporters of Two Rivers application fill Roaring Fork School District board meeting
Seating was a hot commodity in the Dec. 8 Roaring Fork School District Board of Education meeting — or at least for the first half of it.
Parents, teachers and students of all ages filled the Carbondale office’s meeting room to the brim, with standing room only as public speakers and Head of School Jamie Nims addressed the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education on Wednesday night on the subject of Two Rivers Community School’s district authorization application.
Even among controversial COVID-19 discussions, the room meetings had not seen such in-person representation since before the pandemic. Following the discussion about the application and a recess, only four seats were filled by members of the public — half by reporters.
“They showed up with numbers,” Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Rob Stein said. “They showed up with grace. They showed up with enthusiasm. It was a really good reminder of how positive board attendance and board participation can be in a showing of support. It was so constructive.”
Nims said that Two Rivers has discussed joining the school district since its inception in 2014. The Glenwood Springs-based charter school submitted its second application for Roaring Fork School District authorization in early December, withdrawing its initial bid in June 2020 amid pandemic uncertainty.
Now, the K-8 is moving forward with its hope of becoming the district’s second charter school.
“This is something we have been talking about for a long time, but also there is an urgency at our school and our community to come together like there has never been before,” Nims said.
Nims cited a need for additional resources and support to make up for loss of learning brought on by the pandemic. By gaining district authorization, the school stands to receive $2,800 more per-student funding than it does currently, according to a memo presented to the board by Stein and Roaring Fork School District Public Information Officer Kelsy Been.
Nims added that there’s a mutual benefit to coordinating with the district. Most of Two Rivers’ students move on to a Roaring Fork District high school, specifically Glenwood Springs High School.
Two Rivers stakeholders loaded the public comment portion of the meeting, taking all seven slots allotted and an additional eighth granted for the meeting.
Glenwood Springs High School junior Angel Hernandez opened public comment to advocate for the school’s learning model and how it prepares students for high school.
“Two Rivers reflects what is possible when we come together as a community, and I would not trade my experience there for any other,” Hernandez said. “Their addition to the Roaring Fork School District will only come to benefit the Roaring Fork Valley.”
The Board of Education did not act on the application in the meeting to take a “full opportunity to review the application and to hear from the community,” according to the Stein/Been cover memo. The board is scheduled for a decision at its Jan. 12 meeting.
Reporter Rich Allen can be reached at 970-384-9131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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