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Douglas County parents want school district to build new elementary school to ease overcrowding

Douglas County, Sierra Ridge
Posted at 5:36 PM, Feb 02, 2021

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A 10-acre field tucked within the Sierra Ridge development in Douglas County was supposed to be the site of a new school. But today, the site still remains undeveloped.

“The developers may not be at fault, but they still continue to tell people that you will have a school," Kate Berger-Martin said.

She lives about two miles from the proposed site for the new public elementary school. Her kids currently attend Prairie Crossing Elementary, but that could soon change.

The school district is considering moving some of its students elsewhere because of overcrowding, which Berger-Martin doesn’t want to happen.

“They've known for years and years and years that this was going to happen, and we're the only ones paying the price," she said.

A spokesperson with Douglas County School District told Denver7 the district doesn't have the funds for a new school.

Douglas County is seeing incredible growth in both Parker and Castle Rock. As our school district community grows, we evaluate capacity, programming, and safety at our schools, and explore possible solutions. Any changes impacting enrollment at our schools, such as boundary changes, is done in partnership with our community through a series of feedback sessions, as well as opportunities to ask questions.

Building a new school requires significant funding. During these challenging financial times, a new school is only possible with an additional funding source.

The developer that dedicated the site to the school district pledged to pay $500 per residential dwelling unit for the school's capital infrastructure, but the spokesperson said it's a "drop in the bucket" when considering the $40-60 million cost of building a new school.

Citing the county's position as having some of the highest median household incomes in the country, Kendra Sindelman, whose kids are also enrolled in the district, said the school district should have the funds.

“I think the justification in the past is that they didn't have the money, but we have since passed tax initiatives to give them the money," she said.

Berger-Martin hopes the district comes up with a solution quickly.

“I don't know how much more we can handle, how [many] more kids we can stack on top of each other," she said.