GOLDEN, Colo. — After months of parents begging for a different solution, the Jeffco Public Schools board voted to close 16 schools on Thursday night.
The 16 schools to be closed include:
- Emory Elementary
- Peck Elementary
- Thomson Elementary
- Campbell Elementary
- Peiffer Elementary
- Colorow Elementary
- Green Mountain Elementary
- Molholm Elementary
- Glennon Heights Elementary
- Parr Elementary
- Sheridan Elementary
- Witt Elementary
- Vivian Elementary
- Wilmore Davis Elementary
- Kullerstrand Elementary
- Bergen Meadow Primary
Parents at Thursday's board meeting were hopeful for a different outcome than the board’s recommended closures. Many feel that more disadvantaged Title 1 schools were targeted in the decision.
Many of the schools are home to higher numbers of students on free and reduced school lunch.
“I am disturbed that if you are a student with free and reduced lunch, you are three times more likely to be at a school that is proposed to close, and if you are not white, you are two times more likely to be at a school that is closing,” Debbie Mitchell said.
Parents asked the district to take more time to collect public input, with many families saying that by the time they found out about the closures, the district had already made up their minds about the fate of the schools.
“What I can’t get on board with is that our opinions didn’t matter from this entire process, from the moment we had our first meeting and say, ‘I’ve already made up my mind,’” said Korey Stites, a councilmember for Wheat Ridge whose children attend Kullerstrand.
The district, on the other hand, said the decision is the best for all students moving forward, including those from underrepresented groups.
“I cannot leave some kids in under-resourced schools while also getting everything they need and more,” school board member Paul Reed said. “My conscience just can’t allow that. I cannot shortchange all of our students at large schools, small schools and everything in between by funding thousands of empty seats across the district, which is what we are doing right now. It just isn’t right.”
The board voted unanimously to close all 16 schools. All of the schools will close in the summer of 2023, except Bergen Meadow, which will close in the summer of 2024.
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