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Officials nix possible ballot question for Columbine rebuild after survey results

Posted at 2:34 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 19:33:10-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Jeffco Public Schools won't move forward with a proposal to build a new Columbine High School following the results of a community survey that showed mixed reaction to the idea.

Survey results on the district's proposal indicated a 60% - 40% split against any effort to demolish Columbine and rebuild the school.

The feedback from the survey of Jefferson County voters released Wednesday has prompted superintendent Jason Glass to abandon any possible plans to build a new Columbine High School.

"I do not believe there is sufficient support to move forward with a proposal to rebuild the school," Glass wrote in a letter to parents.

According to results from the survey, supporters of the ballot initiative to rebuild the school desired a new facility with the same identity while other supporters suggested that a new name was necessary to prevent current challenges faced by Columbine. People opposed to the idea of a new school expressed concerns about wastefulness and an unnecessary tax burden.

The idea to demolish the Jefferson County school and rebuild it came from concerns over unauthorized visitors to the facility. Glass told Denver7 last month that the school is "constantly under pressure" from people stopping by the campus, either out of innocent fascination or attempts to enter the building illegally.

"We have hundreds of people who try to enter the building or walk onto the grounds or slow-roll by it," Glass said. "We even have tour buses of people that stop outside Columbine High School. It's just a constant threat to the kids that are there."

In April, a Florida teenager who authorities said was "infatuated" with the Columbine shooting, traveled to Colorado and made threats toward area schools, before she was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the base of Mount Evans.

Glass said he appreciates the feedback the district got from the community on the matter, and he and other officials will work to make Columbine more secure going forward.

Columbine Principal Scott Christy sent a letter to families on Wednesday:

Dear Columbine Families,

I am writing in regards to the letter you received from Dr. Glass, our Superintendent, about the proposal to rebuild our facility. First, I would like to thank Dr. Glass for bringing forth this conversation and I understand and respect the decision he made.

Second, I want to thank all of you, and the entire Columbine community, for participating in this dialogue. I feel strongly that the amount of emotion and passion that was expressed in this conversation would not have occurred with any other school. This discussion reaffirmed the love that our community has for our school, and I am so proud and thankful for that.

My primary concern from the start of this conversation was that our families would question the safety and security of our school. My hope is that you do not have this concern. As Dr. Glass stated in his letter, Columbine is arguably “one of the safest schools in the world.” The safety of our students and staff is paramount and we have an outstanding security staff and surveillance system that is top notch in keeping our school safe. After the planned improvements and safety upgrades are completed, Columbine will be even more safe.

I am thankful and excited for the $15 million that was allocated to renovating and expanding our facility. Our Design Advisory Group has put in a tremendous amount of time and thought into improvements with these funds to best meet the needs of our students, staff, and community. We will continue that work over the next six months prior to breaking ground next February. In the end, I am confident that our facility is going to be much improved, and it is going to be something we can continue to be proud of.

We are currently focused on preparing for the 2019/20 school year. I couldn’t be more excited about this upcoming school year as I know it is going to be great. You will be receiving registration information within the next couple of weeks. We can’t wait to begin working with our students.

In conclusion, as I have heard and said many times over the past couple months, it is not the building, but the people that make us what we are. You all make Columbine the BEST school on the planet. I am so thankful for our Columbine Family…Thank you for being a part of it. And, thank you for trusting me and my staff with your child. We will love them and provide them with an outstanding education and an amazing high school experience.

In partnership,

Scott Christy