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Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education votes to close two K-8 schools

JeffCo Public Schools sign
Posted at 10:07 PM, Oct 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-13 00:57:46-04

GOLDEN, Colo. — In what is expected to be the final vote on district-wide school closures, the Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education voted Thursday to close Coal Creek Canyon K-8 and Arvada K-8 schools.

This is the latest move by the district to address declining enrollment, which has impacted funding and resource allocation.

The school board voted 4-1 in favor of the resolution closing the schools, which will also initiate an expedited charter application process for the Coal Creek Canyon K-8 building and calls for a plan to help migrant and refugee students at Arvada K-8. Director Danielle Varda, the lone "no" vote on the resolution, pointed to those students and their families while explaining her opposition.

“Many immigrant and Spanish-speaking families attend [Arvada K-8]. We should be working to strengthen and build up their support because we know that the more consistency and stability we can provide to these families, the better their academic outcomes can be,” Varda said. “But I feel that this plan perpetuates systemic oppression that these families have faced much of their lives.”

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Jeffco recommends closing two K-8 schools this year in second round of closures

Yesenia Robles, Chalkbeat Colorado
7:23 AM, Aug 25, 2023

Each of the other board members, however, said in their comments they felt this was a difficult but necessary decision.

Last year, the board closed 16 elementary schools to address declining enrollment. Data from the district last year showed it was only serving about 69,000 students, out of a capacity for 96,000.

The district blames declining birth rates and fewer children living in the area. This impacts the funding and resources at impacted small schools, board members argued, and leads to a lower quality education.

“When student enrollment declines so precipitously, while the number of schools stays the same, we find ourselves with resources stretched too thin to give all of our students the education they deserve,” board member Mary Parker said.

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Jeffco Public Schools unanimously approves school closure, consolidation plan

Sydney Isenberg
7:28 PM, Nov 10, 2022

While these closures are not the end of the conversation over declining enrollment, this is the last scheduled vote on school closures for Jeffco Public Schools. A representative for the district told Denver7 it will continue to monitor enrollment trends, but officials are hopeful the closures made last year and this year will be enough to get the district on a solid path.

According to the resolution passed by the school board, Arvada K-8 will close July 2024. Coal Creak Canyon K-8 is also set to close July 2024, provided a charter school alternative is approved. If that does not happen, closure of the school will be postponed to July 2025.

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