Mill Levy Funds Allow RFSD To Provide New Technology for Student Learning

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo… Thanks to voters passing a mill levy just over two years ago, the Roaring Fork School District is embarking on a pilot technology program by testing the use of new Chromebooks.

Chromebooks provide access to the web’s education and collaboration resources as well as offers centralized management and low total cost of ownership. The goal is to allow teachers to spend more time teaching and less time managing classroom technology, while RFSD can deploy more computers into the hands of their students and teachers.

In addition to access to the web, Chromebooks provide the teaching and learning benefits of computers without the typical distractions that come with technology in the classroom, like quick boot and resume time – eliminating the time wasted while traditional computers start up and connect to a network, and a long battery life that lasts an entire school day. Chromebook can connect anywhere with built-in Wi-Fi and optional 3G, so students can continue learning after school and at home. Applications, school work, and settings are stored in the cloud, so multiple students can use the same Chromebook and still have their own personalized experience when they sign in.

“We don’t have to worry about installing software or doing updates and imaging. It’s just plug and play – it’s really amazing,” said RFSD Technology Director, Jeff Gatlin.  “Best of all, there is no special training required: If you know how to use the web, you know how to use a Chromebook.”

Other school districts such as Cherry Creek in Denver have implemented similar programs with the purchase of 18,000 Chromebooks this school year. Chromebooks for Roaring Fork Schools are scheduled to be in the hands of staff and students in February.

“We will be carefully tracking the success of this initiative to set the stage for possible expansion of the program in the future,” said Gatlin.

While many voters across Colorado have vetoed local mill levies, voters gave the Roaring Fork School District a thumbs up.  RFSD receives an additional $4.8 million annually to support the schools.  To date, mill levy funds have been used for:

  •     purchase a new K-12 English/Language Arts curriculum for the first time in nearly 10 years
  •     eliminate furlough days and begin to address salary and benefit inequities that made RFSD district less competitive with neighboring school districts
  •     reinstate and permanently fund additional classroom teaching positions
  •     reinstate custodians and ground maintenance staff
  •     increase bandwidth throughout schools to meet burgeoning technology needs
  •     reserve funds to mitigate any future state budget cuts

About the Roaring Fork School District
Roaring Fork School District Re-1 (RFSD) is the 30th largest district in the state of Colorado with 5,436 students including preschool. Comprised of 12 schools in the Roaring Fork Valley, the district serves the communities of Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt within the counties of Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin. The district has four elementary schools, three middle schools, four high schools and one charter school located in Carbondale

In 2013, Basalt Middle School received the Governor’s Improvement Award for the 4th year in a row, from the Colorado Department of Education. In 2012 for the second year in a row three schools in the district, Basalt Elementary, Basalt Middle, and Glenwood Springs High School received the same award, representing the top eight percent of schools in the state. Carbondale Middle School was a recipient of this award in 2010.