Re-1 considers busing teachers to work
It’s no secret it costs a bundle to live upvalley – too much, perhaps, for new teachers to live there and stay a while. That’s why Roaring Fork School District Re-1 is considering a pilot shuttle program that may one day help teachers get to their upvalley classrooms from their downvalley homes. Re-1 announced it’s going to test-drive the program in September, possibly transporting interested staff members who live in Glenwood Springs, New Castle and maybe even Rifle to their upvalley jobs. The idea is part of an interest-based bargaining package the school board approved in December. The district will gauge staff interest with the pilot project during its month-long test period, said Finance Director Shannon Pelland. The project, she said, was to begin in the spring, but no vehicles were available. Now that the district is planning to buy a new activity bus, a bus can be devoted to the program for one month next school year to test the program. “The further you get upvalley, the harder is for us to keep staff because of the cost of living,” Pelland said. “If those new teachers are living downvalley in Glenwood or New Castle, this gives them a way to get to work that will be a little bit less costly.”Superintendent Fred Wall said the bus service could help stabilize staff at all the district’s schools by encouraging teachers to not transfer among campuses. “We are trying to do whatever we can to help people that have transportation issues,” Wall said. Pelland said the program is “very tentative,” and a schedule for the bus service has not been determined. She said she has received little feedback from staff who would ride the bus, so it’s unclear if there would be enough teachers interested in the program. Wall said 10 to 15 people may be interested in the program. There will be challenges to making the car-pool program work, Pelland said. Teachers don’t always arrive and leave school at the same time, she said, and it’s unknown how well teachers could conform to a bus schedule.
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