Community Input Is An Afterthought

At Thursday night’s BOE meeting (March 5), a group of citizens representing the Wheat Ridge Education Alliance (WREA) addressed the Board during public comment regarding the Jefferson and Alameda Plans.  They proposed to the board a “Wheat Ridge Plan B”.  This plan includes moving/shifting school populations at the Manning M.S. and the Everitt Middle School communities, and rearranging the current Maple Grove/Manning campus.   Following public comment, board member John Newkirk made a motion to implement the WREA (WR Plan B) recommendation.


This motion includes:


1) Maple Grove becomes a two-building campus (where Maple Grove and Manning are currently located)

2) Manning MS is relocated to what is the current Everett M.S. site

3) Everett students are relocated to what is now the WR 5-8 site

4) Stevens (currently a PreK-4) becomes a PreK-6

5) Sobesky (about 70 students) remain at current Sobesky site


District staff did not recommend this action and affected principals (as far as we know) do not support it.


Mr. Newkirk made the motion, and Mr. Witt seconded the motion.  Ultimately, the motion was tabled for discussion at the next Board meeting, April 2nd.   There have been no community discussions and no staff input on this plan (that we know of).   Board president Witt directed staff to arrange for community meetings between now and Apr 2nd when the motion would be on the agenda.


Unfortunately, the actions by board members Newkirk and Witt, especially, seem to follow a trend we are now seeing in the Jeffco school district.   Community input is now an afterthought, if given any consideration at all.  Examples:


  • 2013/14 Budget Survey – based on community response, no mill levy funds would have been designated for charters ($5.5M), full day kindergarten program would have received the $600k, no additional funding would have been directed to GT ($850k).
  • Jefferson Plan and Alameda Plan – both plans were presented to the community at the end of the process, not the beginning.   Original community info was not shared in bi-lingual format.
  • Fletcher Miller – Parents learned they were to lose RN support after the decision was made by district staff (this issue now resolved after the parents learned about it)
  • Removal of GT Social Workers was already being implemented when the GT community learned of the change (this issue now resolved after the parents learned about it)
  • Facilities and Overcrowding in Lakewood (Solterra) and NW Arvada – these communities are still waiting information on what direction will be given to Staff.  The BoE (Majority) has already voted down a proposed (and staff recommended) COP to accommodate the growth.   Little discussion at the board table, and no public forums to answer community’s questions.


It appears the community is no longer considered a valued partner with the Board and district leadership.  We will be watching closely to see what decision is made at the April 2nd meeting regarding the Wheat Ridge Plan B.   Hopefully, these school communities (Manning, Maple Grove, Everett, and Sobesky) will have an opportunity to be heard.  They should be on the alert for forum dates.  Based on this trend, we also advise ALL parents and community members to pay even closer attention to the results of the recent Budget survey and those final board decisions.