Threat of closure for Jeffco elementary schools pushed to 2019-20 school year

After a single Jefferson County elementary school closed earlier this year, the district's superintendent sent a letter home to parents stressing there wouldn't be any more closures until at least the 2019-20 school year.

At least, barring any unexpected changes and budget shortfalls.

In a letter sent to parents Friday afternoon, Jeffco Superintendent Jason E. Glass said unless there are drastic, unforeseen changes to the district's finances, he and his staff want time to carefully consider additional school closures.

"Therefore," he wrote, "I am hereby notifying the Jeffco community that my administration will make no recommendations on closing any neighborhood school until the 2019-20 school year, at the earliest."

Back in February, the Jeffco school board voted to close Pleasant View Elementary while sparing four other schools on the chopping block. 

PREVIOUSJeffCo votes to close 1 elementary school

After voters in the county gave the thumbs-down to a bond measure, the district had to slash $25 million from their budget each year for the foreseeable future.

Problems facing the district are two-fold: 10,000 fewer students now than a decade ago, as well as aged buildings.

Glass believes the two-year reprieve from even considering closures will let the district work more with the community to figure out what schools, if any, need to go.

"This will allow us the time to work with all our school communities to offer attractive and quality programs, consider equity concerns, and partner with other community organizations to use available space to provide important services," he wrote.

MORE INFO | JeffCo Schools considers closing schools to save money

All five schools pegged for closure in February weren't at capacity.

The district is also considering moving sixth grade into middle schools as a way to help ease the monetary strain.

Glass was brought in to head the district after it already closed Pleasant View. Prior to working at Jeffco - with its 86,000 students and 150 schools - he worked as Eagle County Superintendent, dealing with just 7,000 students and 25 schools.

BACKGROUNDParents meet with school officials about possible JeffCo school closures

In his letter, he hits several times on how important community involvement is to schools, and vice versa. 

"Schools are the heart of communities and serve as gathering places where families build lifelong friendships, solve community concerns, celebrate together, and grieve together," he wrote.

Near the end of the letter, he brings back the somber state of reality:

"To be clear, I am not saying school closures are off the table going forward."

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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