Roaring Fork Schools Board approves revised 2017-18 calendar
The Roaring Fork Schools’ revised 2017-18 calendar was approved by the Board of Education on February 22. The main change for next year’s calendar is the two-week delayed start of the school year. The delayed start is designed to minimize the adverse impacts on students and staff from both the Grand Avenue Bridge (GAB) closure and major construction on school facilities throughout the district.
The revised calendar is a one-year amendment to accommodate for this construction, which was detailed in this Post Independent article. Essentially, there will be significant transportation impacts to everyone driving through and around Glenwood Springs during the closure of the GAB, which starts on August 14 and will last at least 95 days. CDOT advocated for the proposed school start delay because it will allow more time for all commuters to adjust to the closure without school traffic, as well as more time for the district to study the traffic impacts and adapt its transportation plans accordingly. Currently, there are approximately 175 staff members and 650 students who cross the GAB everyday. Delaying this additional traffic--even for two weeks--will significantly benefit all drivers on the road as they transition to closure traffic.
The proposed delay to the start of school is being recommended district-wide not only because there are staff commuting upvalley through the GAB, but also because there will be significant construction happening this summer on facilities throughout the district, including on all of the Basalt schools. Facilities construction is scheduled to be completed in late August, but two extra weeks will ensure that schools are ready for students.
Additional changes to the calendar were made to accommodate the delayed start, including a later end to the school year and changes to school breaks.
The proposed calendar changes were first proposed in early December. Community and staff input was collected through a feedback form and was reviewed through the interest-based bargaining (IBB) process with school staff. A lot of the collected feedback was contradictory: for instance, many people wanted breaks shortened, while others wanted the same breaks lengthened. Ultimately, district leadership worked with IBB representatives to design a calendar that minimizes the adverse impacts from bridge and and facility construction, while also incorporates as much of the public feedback as possible.
Going forward, the Roaring Fork Schools will resume its normal process to create and approve calendars.