What teachers could teach about housing solutions – The Sopris Sun

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In 2015, voters approved a major Roaring Fork School District (RFSD) bond issue, which, in part, provided $ 5 million per community for affordable housing for teachers.

After the bond was approved, RFSD formed the school district’s housing advisory committee, made up of about 12 staff, to work out the details of the process. First, they created a system for teachers to apply for housing units and developed a plan to award points based on various criteria to impartially award housing units to applicants.

The first task was to conduct surveys to ask staff what type of units they were looking for, what they would be willing to pay for, and what they thought they could afford.

The responsibilities of RFSD COO, Jeff Gatlin, include overseeing the district housing program. There are four teacher housing units, with a total of 66 units: 20 in Carbondale, near the Third Street Center; 23 to Willits; six at Ironbridge and 17 at Cardiff Mesa at Glenwood Springs.

Gatlin spearheaded the acquisition of units, facilitated the committee process of creating guidelines for the housing application process, and discussed “how to achieve our goals for what we hoped to achieve when we got there. posted this in the link ”.

Rob Norville teaches science at Glenwood Springs High School (GSHS) and has lived in the valley for 13 years, becoming a teacher in 2010. He and his wife Victoria, a teacher at Glenwood Springs Elementary School, live in RFSD accommodation with their two. girls. at Ironbridge.

Norville said they were outgrowing their space in a townhouse in New Castle and, more importantly, “We also wanted to be a part of the community in which we teach.”

When the district offered three-bedroom accommodation four and a half years ago, they applied for and purchased the teachers‘ accommodation. Norville said living in Ironbridge “made my connection to Glenwood Springs stronger.” As a GSHS baseball coach, no longer having to deal with long commutes, he added, “It’s easier for me to support my students and their theatrical and musical activities; it’s just a lot easier to go in and see these events when you live there as opposed to living several miles away.

Kendall Reiley, recently hired as vice-principal at Crystal River Elementary School, began her teaching career at Basalt Elementary School (BES). A Basalt family, whose children had attended Basalt schools, had an apartment above their garage for rent. They emailed Suzanne Wheeler-Del Piccolo, Director of BES. She, in turn, sent it to the staff. They offered an apartment at below market rent, so that a salaried teacher could continue to live in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Norville and Reiley were both on the Housing Committee which developed a system that includes awarding points for dependents, teaching in the community you are applying to and for the number of years of teaching d ‘one person in the district. Norville noted that special attention had been paid to meeting the intent of the bond issue, saying, “We went back and visited the Bond Language, to make sure we were really giving the community what she voted for. “

Monthly unit rents, Reiley explained, took multiple factors into account and set rents “at about 26-28 percent of that average wage.” And the more money you earn, the higher your rent.

Norville said of his accommodation experience: “It’s fantastic. It certainly saved us money and we were able to save. Looking to buy a house, he added, “We’ll see what happens with this housing market, it’s a little frustrating. But, we have savings. Not sure that it will keep pace with the growth of the market, but we’ll see.

The program, according to Gatlin, houses 140 people, including staff, spouses and dependents, of which 70 are staff. What’s interesting about the data, Gatlin said, is that about half of the units are still occupied by the original tenant, and some have gone from renting to buying a home.

Another RFSD housing project, Basalt Vista behind Basalt High School, is expected to be completed next year. This is a partnership with RFSD, Pitkin County, Habitat for Humanity and the Town of Basalt and the units are being offered with a purchase opportunity by their tenants.

RFSD donated the land and Pitkin County donated money for infrastructure. Twenty-seven units are under construction, RFSD gets 14 and Pitkin County gets 13. These numbers, Gatlin said, are “based on the percentage of the contribution of our land value and the contribution. from Pitkin County in dollars to the project. “

Gatlin says conversations about the future of the program are taking place. “Part of what I really hope to get more attention in this coming year is what to do next with the program. Where do we go now that we have these 66 units, and what makes sense for the next steps. “

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