Recently, Jeffco Schools posted to the homepage a list of options our students, schools and school communities would be facing if we aren’t able to pass the mill/ (3A/3B) on this November’s ballot. http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/fmp/2016_bond_mill.html
We wanted to remind folks of a few things when they read through that list.
The student growth and overcrowding situation in schools located in your respective areas hasn’t changed much since Jeffco Schools staff presented their case for the much needed additional facilities in 2014 and 2015. If anything, because the then-school board majority was so slow to address and act on the information, it’s only gotten worse. Sort of like a snowball rolling down a ski slope.
Here’s a recap:
In August of 2014, Jeffco Schools Chief Operating Officer, Steve Bell presented to the Jeffco School Board: “State of Current Facility Portfolio”. http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=9MYKM94F2840 (and it should be noted that he presented to that Board over and over and over again!)
He provided some eye-popping statistics about our school buildings and student population:
Of the district’s 12 million square feet (+)
4,095,094 sq. ft. date back to 1946-1965 – between 70 and 50 years old
3,861,262 sq. ft. date back to 1966-1985 – between 50 and 30 years old
The District’s Urgent Needs:
- K-8 school at 58th and Highway 93 (10 acre site). Relief for West Woods ES § Phase II of Sierra ES, first phase completed by 2004 Bond. Phase II was in the failed 2008 Bond. Work will complete the classrooms, library, and remove the existing building. Relieves enrollment pressure at Meiklejohn ES (95%), boundary modification will be required. Cost Estimate-$12-14M. § South Area Athletic Complex at D’Evelyn campus. Provides for south schools and relieves scheduling and the ‘wear and tear’ from overuse of the two existing stadium sites. Cost Estimate-$25M.
- Solterra/West Lakewood Area either a new elementary school or add to Rooney Ranch ES. Growth places enrollment pressure on Rooney Ranch (99% utilization), Devinny (105%), Hutchinson (89%) and Kendallvue (105%) ES. Cost Estimate $6M-$15M.
- (111%), Fairmount ES (97%) and Mitchell ES (96%). Distances to Wayne Carle MS (70%), Drake MS (91%) and Bell MS (68%) are a consideration for a K-8. Boundary modifications will be required. Cost Estimate-$25M.
The C.O.O. presented multiple times to the school board before a new school was approved in Candelas (but with not enough money allocated to build the school.)
As we pointed our in our post in November 2014 http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/no-place-to-grow/
“With the new developments in the Northwest Corridor of Arvada (Candelas, Leyden Rock, and continued build out of 5 Parks and Whispering Creek), the district is expecting near 4,500 new students. Additionally, there is the Solterra development in west Lakewood with 400 homes in new construction and 600 more sites platted. “
Remember, that was in November 2014.
Moving on to January of 2015, the district’s Capital Asset Advisory Committee wrote a letter to the board asking that they address these urgent needs and outlining their concerns: (We’ve bolded parts of this letter to draw your attention) http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/capitol-asset-advisory-committee-letter/
“For the north highway 93 corridor and west Lakewood areas, some schools are already over 100% capacity. Based on enrollment estimates and construction activity, at least 7,200 more students are expected to enroll within 10 years in these neighborhoods….”
“New solutions may need to be implemented as soon as the start of the 2016 school year. These could include reinstating choice-in limits, ripple bussing, 4-track school year, …”
“…the south Jeffco area district athletic facilities are unable to adequately support the number of sports and activities offered compared to number of participating students. We also recommend the construction of the South Area Athletic Complex to allow students to fully participate, and to alleviate over use of our existing facilities, and the inability to fully host or support the athletics and activities in these communities…”
“The Capital Asset Advisory Committee strongly encourages the Board of Education to take action now…”
SJK again addressed these issues in March of 2015. Parents in these areas were beyond concerned about the already crowded conditions of their school and their children’s well-being.
“How far behind is Jeffco at addressing the growth crisis that now exists in NW Arvada, especially, in addition to Lakewood? Too far. Jeffco staff presented to the then School Board (Remember WNW?) in Aug of 2014, Sept. 2014, Nov., 2014, Jan. 2015, and February 2015, sharing the same growth statistics, concern for students who would be in schools with no seats or classrooms.
“Still NO decisions or direction to staff. “
In our November 2015 post (http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/fiscal-impacts-to-jeffco/) we pointed out the previous Board did approve construction of a school “ that might offer 600 seats (scheduled for completion Fall/Winter of 2017), when 6,500-7000 new students for just that area are expected over the next 5 years (Fall of 2020). Those 6,500+ students are not going to wait and just magically show up in 5 years, the student population will grow to that number throughout the next 5 years. 600 hardly makes a dent.
“…Lakewood’s Solterra and surrounding neighborhoods continue to grow with new developments in the planning process. Another 3,000 new students in the next 5-7 years. Again, wake up Jeffco, these students are not just going to wait for 5 or 7 years and just magically appear on Jeffco’s Schools’ doorstep at the same time when there might be new schools to accommodate them. It just doesn’t work that way.
“…at the School Board’s October 1st meeting, the district provided updates on the new Alameda Intl J/HS and Jefferson 7-12 schools. Alameda Principal Susie Van Scoyk reported already being at capacity.”
Solutions for most of these issues haven’t really changed since 2014/2015
Planning Parameters to be Considered (8/14/2014 staff presentation):
- Grade Configurations – Flexibility, Impact on Utilization
- Repurpose Existing Facilities
– Function Change e.g. School to Support Type Facility or Community Use
– School Type / Program or Curriculum Change
- Facility Share – Neighborhood & Charter – Charter & Option
- Explore Short & Long Term Finance Options – Certificates of Participation (COPs), Bonds
What happens if the bond/mill doesn’t pass? (Recently posted to district’s homepage) http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/fmp/2016_bond_mill.html
The Board of Education would have to direct staff how to decrease the budget. Some possible impacts:
- School closures and consolidations
- Split schedules
- Year round schools
- Changing boundaries and transportation radius
- Limited ability to meet basic deferred maintenance
- Continuing to lose great staff
- Larger class sizes
- Higher fees for parents
- Lack of resources for student learning
- Cutting programs and opportunities for students
- Our point being, the current school board decided to do something to address these issues. They referred to the November 2016 ballot a mill levy override and bond. We’ve been asking for something to be done to help alleviate the problems, now it’s time for the communities to step up and help make it happen. As we said in the beginning of this post, left unaddressed, these issues will only get worse – In Arvada alone, March and August of this year, 950 NEW building permits were approved