Jeffco Board of Education to vote on consolidations Nov. 10
The Jefferson County Board of Education will vote on Nov. 10 whether to complete the District’s plan to close 16 elementary schools within the county.
For two months, parents spoke and asked questions about principals and the district at community meetings, and directly to the Board during public comments and hearings. The board, during that time, heard from the District about plans for hiring consolidation, how enrollment will work and predicted enrollment in the future, among other things.
The causes of the seams
The main reason for the closings at all, which is repeated from meeting to meeting to the community and to the Board, is under enrollment and budget cuts across schools that are not fully utilized. As explained by Community Superintendent Donatus Hill, the goal is “appropriate opportunity for all students, teachers and families” and to allow fewer schools to “allow fewer, more intensive programs of support.”
Some parents, such as Mollie Crampton in a public comment to the Board, claimed that the criteria used were not fair in themselves.
“The rules for this process use schools that do better in our choice system, and the choice system can provide benefits to parents with their privilege, who can afford time and transportation to send their kids to another school,” he said.
He pointed out that a large portion of the student population at Vivian Elementary, which is facing closure, are students of color, and that their academic career “is good for all students, and the growth shows that we have an opportunity to close the employment gap. It’s something that the whole state, the whole county is working on.” He sees closing Vivian as “taking away a wonderful opportunity…from some of the most vulnerable children in the district.”
As for the signature, 2nd Vice President of the Board of Education Susan Miller said that at the Emory Elementary community meeting the board spoke to their GIS team to see where the kids are going, and using the interviews to collect the issues left to the parents. data She did not elaborate further on whether she completed the collection or what she revealed.
It does not look like seams
Sixteen elementary schools are slated for possible closure. District criteria used to decide which schools were included were whether the number was “less than 220 K-2, K-5, K-6 students” or if the school was using 45 percent or less of its facilities and another school was less than 3.5 miles away that could draw those students.
If the consolidations mean the student is further away from the school, there will be rescheduling of transportation for them. Currently, Jeffco’s rules allow bus transportation if the walking distance is more than a mile, and safety considerations such as railroad tracks, railroad crossings, and highways allow for speed limits higher than 40 miles per hour even for bus transportation.
Basic space and safety considerations for individual schools can be found on the District’s website Presentation Board.
Students enrolled in a school closing, by term or by choice, are guaranteed a place in the receiving school.
“Lisa Relou,” said the chief military and communication officer for the district. “Students will also be accepted in the school if no parents are enrolled, but a special number will be available to every family for special help if needed.
Parents have voiced their concerns about the consolidations at public meetings, public comments and public hearings. There were many concerns specific to the school that some programs would be transferred and which would look at safety considerations in the absorbing school, while others were broader and more critical of the process itself.
Lakewood resident Park Farr said the criteria for choosing the school block “doesn’t show the whole picture.”
“We feel that there is a great deal of neglect in the criteria used for low enrollment, building use and financial issues to make this decision, which essentially puts the District’s financial rolls and budgets on the backs of parents, staff, etc. students and the community — and especially in already marginalized communities: low-income, special needs and families of color,” Farr said.
More detailed information can be found about the District Criteria in his place.
Class sizes were other concerns raised more frequently as the District explained several times it was expected to remain in agreement made with the Jefferson County Education Association – which represents educators in the district – at 18 to 24 students for kindergarten through third grade and 22 to 30 in fourth through sixth grade.
Whether teachers remain with those students is less concrete, as Emory Elementary principal Lisa Mahannah said in a joint meeting, certified and non-certified teachers need to re-interview for the position, but is guaranteed a place in the District. .
“The district needs to retain its employees as much as it needs to retain you,” Maannah said.
A teacher’s certification does not guarantee a position, according to Flor Contreras, a Level 3 teacher of the Dual Spanish language program at Emory. She explained that she became a teacher with the Emory kids, and this school year was her first. Mahannah replied that if the teacher wanted to stay with the students, he should, and that the lawyer for him.
Another major concern used was the fear that programs such as those for special needs children and disabilities, or duplicative programs, would not successfully transfer after consolidation.
Wheat Ridge resident Alanna Ritchie described the pandemic as “wild” for her son and the Center Program at Wilmore-Davis Elementary.
“The older schools don’t have consolidation center programs, and these kids don’t need resources. A support system for these children already exists in the smaller schools that already serve them,” Ritchie said, asserting that they can take years of children with disabilities to trust and feel safe with the staff and structure around them.
It shows the original recommendation list by District Centers for transfer programs to receiving schools; review specific programs that can be transferred to different schools.
At least for Emory Elementary, Lasley will transfer the dual language program to her school.