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Poudre School District releases revised plans for proposed school closures

Poudre School District said because of low enrollment and budget cuts, they are considering tough options. Revised scenarios were released Friday after weeks of public input.
Poudre School District map
Poudre School District
Posted at 10:00 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 08:43:00-04

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Parents across the Poudre School District have been bracing for the latest revisions to plans on how to balance the district's budget.

"Just over a five-year period — already, we've seen a decline in about 1,200 students, and that's in our 100% choice and neighborhood schools. So we have a funding reality to look at," said Emily Shockley with the Poudre School District.

A steering committee released the first round of recommendations, suggesting the possible closures of several schools.

Poudre School District

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After weeks of public input, the revised suggestions released Friday include impacts to many schools across the districts, but regardless of which plan, three specific schools are always on the chopping block.

The proposals have not been approved by the school board yet, but all recommendations so far would close Beattie Elementary, and would send those students to Bennett and Lopez Elementary.

Blevins Middle School would close and students would go to Lincoln or Webber Middle Schools.

Johnson Elementary School would close with their students moved to Olander and McGraw Elementaries.

The committee who drafted the revised options said they took into consideration schools that had capacity and utilization under 70%, the enrollment numbers and the distance of the closest nearby school that could be used to consolidate, among other factors.

According to a map showing capacity data, as of February 2024, Beattie was operating at 58%, Blevins at 47% and Johnson at 60%.

In a statement, the committee reported that, "Beattie Elementary has the lowest building utilization and student enrollment of the southwest schools. The school has been under-enrolled for nearly 10 years and over 40% of neighborhood students currently choice out to a different school. Johnson Elementary has the second-lowest building utilization and enrollment in the southwest elementaries. Johnson is located within one mile of two other elementary schools."

The committee also reported that Blevins is the lowest enrolled middle school in Fort Collins with no other viable options or alternatives identified when compared to other middle schools on the west side.

Poudre School District releases revised plans for proposed school closures

"While we would love to have every school open and operating the same way it is at all times for many years to come, unfortunately, the reality is that when you have lower funding, it means that it's harder to maintain staffing and programming," Shockley said.

The public input period is open until May 19. The district is encouraging members of the community to fill out their questionnaire about the options.

On May 14, the committee will present the revised scenarios to the school board.

After collecting more public comment, the committee will draft up a third version of scenarios, which is expected to be released on May 28. A final public listening session is scheduled for June 4 with the board making their final vote on June 11. Whatever the board decides will not take effect until 2025.

The updated proposed scenarios are:

Scenario D1 

  • Close Beattie Elementary School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Beattie’s attendance area to Lopez and Bennett elementary schools. 
  • Close Blevins Middle School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Blevins’ attendance area to Lincoln and Webber middle schools.  
  • Close Cache La Poudre Elementary School and reassign students to Irish, Putnam, and Tavelli elementary schools. 
  • Close Cache La Poudre Middle School and reassign students to Lincoln Middle School. 
  • Close Johnson Elementary School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Johnson’s attendance area to Olander and McGraw elementary schools. 
  • Close Linton Elementary School and reassign students primarily to Kruse Elementary School. Boundaries for Bacon, Kruse, Werner, and Zach would be adjusted to accommodate this shift. 
  • Keep Irish and Putnam elementary schools’ boundaries the same, but students in kindergarten through second grade could attend either school and have busing to either school. Any new students in grades 3-5 in either attendance boundary would be assigned to Putnam. 
  • Irish would be promoted as a dual language school with guaranteed busing for Spanish-speaking students, who could enroll at Irish year-round.
  • Putnam would become a Core Knowledge school.
  • Adjust boundaries so that Bamford Elementary students would attend Preston Middle School and Fossil Ridge High School for grades 6-12 instead of Timnath Middle-High School. 
  • Balance enrollment among schools east of Interstate 25 by shifting boundaries between Timnath, Bethke, and Bamford elementary schools. 

Scenario D2  

  • Close Beattie Elementary School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Beattie’s attendance area to Lopez and Bennett elementary schools. 
  • Close Blevins Middle School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Blevins’ attendance area to Lincoln and Webber middle schools.  
  • Close Boltz Middle School and reassign most students to Preston Middle School, with some parts of the attendance area being absorbed by Lesher Middle School. The dual language program at Boltz would move to Lincoln Middle School.  
  • Close Johnson Elementary School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Johnson’s attendance area to Olander and McGraw elementary schools.  
  • Close Linton Elementary School and reassign students primarily to Kruse Elementary School. Boundaries for Bacon, Kruse, Werner, and Zach would be adjusted to accommodate this shift. 
  • Relocate Polaris into the vacated Johnson Elementary building (see Johnson above). 
  • Relocate Irish to the vacated Polaris building (formerly the Moore Elementary School building). Irish would continue to have a dual immersion model in its new location but would become a 100% choice school with no neighborhood attendance boundaries. The Irish attendance boundary area would be absorbed by Cache La Poudre and Putnam elementary schools, with adjustments to the boundaries for Dunn and Tavelli. 
  • Adjust boundaries so that Bamford Elementary students would attend Preston Middle School and Fossil Ridge High School for grades 6-12 instead of Timnath Middle-High School. 
  • Balance enrollment among schools east of Interstate 25 by shifting boundaries between Timnath, Bethke, and Bamford elementary schools. 

Scenario E 

  • Consolidate Harris and Linton elementary schools into a three-track dual immersion school to be located at the Linton elementary building. Linton would retain some of its current neighborhood attendance area. Current Harris students could choice into Linton or Irish. 
  • Close Preston Middle School and change Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School from a 100% choice school to a neighborhood school.  
  • Bacon, Bamford, and Zach students would attend Kinard for middle school. Students from other elementary schools in Preston’s current attendance boundaries would go to Boltz for middle school.
  • Bethke and Timnath Elementary students would continue to attend Timnath Middle-High School for middle and high school.
  • Relocate Polaris into the vacated Johnson Elementary building (see Johnson below). 
  • Relocate Irish to the vacated Polaris building (formerly the Moore Elementary School building). Irish would continue to have a dual immersion model in its new location but would become a 100% choice school with no neighborhood attendance boundaries. The Irish attendance boundary area would be absorbed by Cache La Poudre and Putnam elementary schools, with adjustments to the boundaries for Dunn and Tavelli. 
  • Close Beattie Elementary School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Beattie’s attendance area to Lopez and Bennett elementary schools. 
  • Close Blevins Middle School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Blevins’ attendance area to Lincoln and Webber middle schools. 
  • Close Johnson Elementary School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Johnson’s attendance area to Olander and McGraw elementary schools. 
  • Balance enrollment among schools east of Interstate 25 by shifting boundaries between Timnath, Bethke, and Bamford elementary schools. 

Scenario F 

  • Close Beattie Elementary School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Beattie’s attendance area to Lopez and Bennett elementary schools. 
  • Close Blevins Middle School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Blevins’ attendance area to Lincoln and Webber middle schools. 
  • Close Johnson Elementary School and adjust boundaries to send students currently in Johnson’s attendance area to Olander and McGraw elementary schools.  
  • Close Linton Elementary School and reassign students primarily to Kruse Elementary School. Boundaries for Bacon, Kruse, Werner, and Zach would be adjusted to accommodate this shift. 
  • Close Putnam Elementary School and reassign students to Dunn, Irish, Tavelli, and Cache La Poudre Elementary School.  
  • Students in kindergarten through second grade in the expanded Irish attendance area could choose between Irish and CLPE and receive busing to either school.
  • New students in grades 3-5 in the expanded Irish attendance area would be automatically assigned to CLPE.
  • Make Timnath Middle-High School a high school only and reassign middle school students in TMHS boundaries to Preston Middle School. 
  • Balance enrollment among schools east of Interstate 25 by shifting boundaries between Timnath, Bethke, and Bamford elementary schools. 

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