Two Rivers School drops charter bid with Roaring Fork District, for now
The state-chartered Two Rivers Community School in Glenwood Springs is withdrawing its application to reauthorize under the local school district due to the uncertain school finance fallout from the pandemic response.
TRCS had applied last fall to be re-chartered under the Roaring Fork School District, while simultaneously re-applying with the Colorado Charter School Institute.
The state charter was reauthorized for the maximum five years in October 2019. But the school had continued talks with the school district into the late winter months, before the coronavirus forced school building closures across Colorado, and the negotiations were put on the back burner.
Head of School Jamie Nims informed the Roaring Fork District school board and administrators in a recent letter that the TRCS Board of Directors voted unanimously May 28 to withdraw the application.
“While we hope to reconsider our authorization options at some point in the future, we have concluded that with so much financial uncertainty related to public education in Colorado, this is not an appropriate
time to request authorization from Roaring Fork Schools,” Nims wrote.
Nims said previously that the six-year-old charter school could benefit from a partnership with the school district through shared resources, such as transportation services and possibly future tax dollars.
In February, the charter discussions were paused while TRCS worked to refinance its building debt. The school acquired $10 million in bonds in 2016 to purchase the former postal facility in West Glenwood and to remodel and expand the building.
“We were fortunate enough to close on our refinance with a rate of 2.48%, which will provide us a savings of $168,000 annually on our debt service,” Nims said in a follow-up interview. “With the state budget cuts for the coming school year, the timing for this refinance couldn’t have been better.”
In the meantime, the school will continue to review its options for authorization, he said.
“We decided that the best course of action was to withdraw our application with Roaring Fork Schools due to the significant economic uncertainties,” Nims said, adding, “We may reconsider reapplying when the economic outlook is more favorable.
Two Rivers operates as a K-8 charter school, serving about 350 students from both the Roaring Fork and Garfield Re-2 school districts.
The school utilizes multi-age classrooms and a “place-based,” experiential learning model, with a focus on second-language acquisition and multicultural studies.
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