Jeffco Schools News

Hopefully you’re subscribed to the district newsletters, but if not, here are some items that you may find interesting:

Graduation Requirement Community Meetings Postponed
Several community meetings about graduation requirements were scheduled for next week, they have been postponed to the fall. The Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education feels it is important to get community input on competency-based learning to show evidence of our current graduation requirements. However, since Jeffco Public Schools’ graduation requirements currently meet or exceed state expectations, holding the meetings in the fall will better serve our communities. There is no change to the current graduation requirements, the fall meetings will be about competency-based pathways to support student learning.

Also, a word from our superintendent about the Facility Master Plan. Please go to the community forums and tell the Board your thoughts on this plan put forward by the district!

http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/business/facil_plan_design_const/master_plan/index.html

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Have you reviewed the proposed Facilities Master Plan (FMP)?

In January, the Board of Education directed staff to develop a plan that would give our students the schools they need and deserve, reduce operations costs, and use our resources as efficiently as possible. On April 21, the staff presented the plan to the board, and now the FMP is being presented at public meetings to explain the why and how of the plan and gather input. We have had four meetings and there are another eight coming up in late May and early June. We would like your input on how we can best plan to give our kids quality school facilities, while moving towards a sustainable annual budget. Please click here to see the meeting times/dates/locations.

The FMP proposes some big changes in some areas including: reducing the number of small, old elementary schools by consolidating two schools into one new building; changing boundaries to better use facilities; and moving sixth-graders to middle schools because while many elementary schools are at capacity, middle schools have room. We knew these ideas would shake up some neighborhoods. We knew it would lead to some tough conversations. But we also know that to give our kids the education they need, we have to figure out how to replace or remodel our aging schools (the average age of our schools is about 45-years-old) and reduce our annual expenses on facilities maintenance.

Though the ideas may be new to these neighborhoods, they aren’t new ideas. Having sixth-graders in middle schools is more common than not in other districts. We already have sixth-graders in middle schools in a few of our schools, and studies have shown that configuration works. Having bigger schools is a lot more typical in the Denver metro area than our small school model, primarily for efficiency but also to offer better resources. Boundary changes come up every few years when new construction or population changes affect our schools, and they are always a controversial subject for the neighborhoods involved. However, I feel the time has come to make some changes so we can have great schools in the near future and 40 years from now.

The goal of the FMP is to give our kids good, useable space to learn, in a way that our annual budget will be able to sustain. Right now, our funding is stretched so thin we are not keeping up with building maintenance needs (called deferred maintenance in the FMP). Even if we secure capital funds to build some new schools, we still need to reduce annual expenses in order to provide students with resources to learn. Lowering annual facilities costs means more funding available for the most important component of a great education – great teachers.

I urge you to take a look at the FMP and give us your feedback on how we can meet these goals together, in a way that serves our district well now, and years from now.

Warm regards,
Dan