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'It would just be a terrible loss': Columbian parents respond to DPS plan to close schools | Your Opinion

A parent's rebuttal to Dr. Alex Marrero's statements on school closures, consolidations
Posted: 4:34 PM, Nov 02, 2022
Updated: 2022-11-03 16:17:07-04
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Editor's note: After receiving Stephen Suranowitz's opinion, Denver7 invited him and other parents to speak on what Columbian Elementary means to them and what the proposal from DPS to consolidate their school would mean for their families. The video above includes an additional opinion from Darcy Cornish Lovato.

I am writing this in response to Dr. Marrero's video posted last night regarding the school closure/consolidation.

It's completely ridiculous to listen to what he is saying. He goes on stating that we as the parents and/or community need to ask the right questions, we need to make sure our children have a robust experience and a well-rounded education, we need to 'right-size' the district for the kids and educators, we need to fish for talent and put it all together, and that each child deserves the best opportunity to succeed.

I am a proud parent of two students at Columbian Elementary, who are flourishing there, and an active community member. What Dr. Marrero speaks of is contradictory to what DPS is proposing with these school closures. You want our children to have a well-rounded education, then don't cram 200+ more kids into another school, causing overcrowding and less one-on-one learning.

You want children to flourish and actually succeed at these young and crucial ages, then allow a school like Columbian, that offers unique and specialized learning opportunities with arts infusion, to continue to grow their family and teach their students with their amazing curriculum and faculty.

You say we are fishing for talent and that it needs to be all in one place, but what you really mean is that you need the amazing talent from Columbian to move into a horrible school to try and make that school better.

You say ask the right questions, but we are, how about give us some real answers other than budget BS and saying this will be a positive thing when you know it won't be.

You say 'right-size' the district, when what you really mean is that Denver wants to cut salaries and cut costs because they go on and on that they're losing millions of dollars due to low enrollment. That doesn't even make sense.

Columbian is funded for 215 kids no matter what at $7,500 per kid. We are about 29 students short of that, which is equivalent to $217,500. That's it. If we were given the chance as promised until 2024 with our new arts infusion curriculum, we could easily get enrollment up.

Denver rakes in millions and millions of dollars, tax-payer dollars, on everything. Just the money from dispensaries alone brings in millions of dollars per year. And you're telling us that Denver can't afford $200k to keep an amazing and unique school like Columbian open?!

Even if you closed the school, that building would still sit their empty for many years, still needing to be maintained so it doesn't become a blight to the neighborhood by becoming run-down or unkempt.

All we hear as parents and as a community is the money, money, money. Denver doesn't actually support these children, because if they did, this wouldn't be an issue, keeping a wonderful school opened that has obviously had a tremendous impact on so many of these children's lives.

My two sons alone always tell me how much they love going to school. They love music, art, theater, going to the art-filled field trips that our amazing principal has secured in our curriculum. They never complain about getting up and going because they love going to school! We know so many of the other parents and children, we are a family at Columbian.

If you close it, you are completely disturbing the lives of these children who love their school. You will be taking jobs away from teachers and parents who have been there for decades. My wife went to that school, her sister, her nephew, and now our sons. It is a generational school. My mother went to that school, my aunts and uncles, and other friends and family members. We have built a real family and community around this school. ... We will fight this!

We do not agree that closing Columbian and packing children into classrooms because a building is bigger is the solution. We support children having a school that thrives on creating community and connection through the arts. We support educators that are creating engaging, challenging, and exciting learning experiences that expands their student’s view. We support children having the opportunity to have more one-on-one time with their teachers. We support small schools with BIG hearts! We are Columbian!

What you're saying

'Look at Littleton public schools'

It doesn't make sense to keep schools open that don't have enough kids to support them. It hurts to have your neighborhood school closed, but if mental health services and counseling can be consolidated where the most kids have access to it, doesn't that make sense? Look at Littleton public schools. They closed some schools and reallocate resources and they are one of the top districts in the country.
Doug Jones

'Our school needs to stay open'

Our school needs to stay open. This school is amazing with a great educational system. If schools are closed down it should be because of the school not performing not because money. The schools not performing should be the ones to consolidate into performing schools like Columbian.
Hailey Douglas

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