RFSD Board of Directors approves “Yes” on 5B – The Sopris Sun

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Voters in Roaring Fork School District (RFSD) Re-1 will decide the fate of ballot 5B, a factory fee waiver that, if passed, will increase teacher and staff salaries and bolster efforts district retention and recruitment.

On August 25, the RFSD Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution to put the initiative in the November 2 ballot for the three communities of Re-1: Carbondale, Basalt and Glenwood Springs.

The wording of the ballot indicates that property taxes within the RFSD will be increased to a maximum of $ 7.7 million per year in 2022 and adjusted for inflation each year thereafter.

Homeowners would pay $ 3.62 per month for every $ 100,000 of their home’s estimated value. The average RFSD owner would pay an additional $ 14.21 per month.

Autumn Rivera, co-chair of the “Yes to 5B” committee, said passing the ballot question would result in a 10-12% pay rise for staff and teachers.

She reiterated that these additional funds remain within the RFSD and will not be used to pay the salaries of the district leadership team, saying: “It is about trying to support our teachers and our staff – drivers. buses, guards, food workers, paraprofessionals, secretaries and health workers. workers.”

RFSD faces increased competitiveness from surrounding districts to attract and retain quality teachers and staff. Comparing the average per-pupil replacement royalty funding for RFSD factories to that of the Aspen, Eagle County, Garfield County Re-2 and Re-16 school districts, Rivera explained, “If you take all of these districts, we are currently collecting the smallest amount of factory tax money replace money at this time. It would help us pick ourselves up and be on par with them.

In a Business.org teacher compensation survey released in July, Colorado ranked 49th out of 51 (50 states plus the District of Columbia) in a state-by-state comparison of teacher earnings. And while RFSD has the third highest cost of living in the state, it ranks 23rd for average teacher salary.

According to Rivera, the starting salary for an RFSD teacher is around $ 41,000 per year and the average salary for a teacher is around $ 50,000. The National Education Association estimates that the national average teacher salary was $ 65,090 for the 2020-21 school year.

About five years ago, a committee started looking for ways to alleviate the salaries of late teachers and staff, “and we realized the numbers weren’t improving,” Rivera said.

In 2019, some teachers and administrators began to meet as part of an interest-based negotiating committee focused on the RFSD budget. “We spent a lot of time looking at the numbers, cutting what we could, and we cut almost to the bone, and that still didn’t fix the problem, so we realized we had to do something else. “she said.

They wanted to offer voters a waiver of factory fees in 2020; However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. With their plans postponed, Rivera shared, “the numbers just kept getting worse.”

This school year has started with over 70 unfilled district positions. Rivera said: “I’ve been in a lot of interviews where we found a great candidate and offered him a job. They researched the cost of living, realizing they couldn’t do it, and turned down the job. Seventy-five percent of the applicants we offered jobs turned them down. “

Schools are funded by a combination of national and local property tax revenues. The Gallagher Amendment, passed in 1982, and the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) – passed by voters as an amendment to the Colorado State Constitution in 1992 – placed strict limits on government revenue and growth in spending. Some voters said these measures hamper the ability of local governments to adequately fund schools.

Amendment B, which passed in November 2020, was a partial repeal of the Gallagher Amendment. Yet many argue that more needs to be done to correct funding inequalities.

Rivera said the Colorado education funding formula has resulted in “[high school] the elderly, graduates this year, who have completed their 12 years of schooling and have never had a properly funded school year.

Rivera concluded: “Education only improves society. We can give to our community by having strong schools and attracting great new teachers, but also by keeping teachers and staff who are committed to our community and our students.

For more information on Ballot Number 5B, visit https://www.yeson5b.com/

There were no registered opponents at the initiative of the ballot.

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