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The Chief Operating Officer for the school district. Mr. Steve Bell tried to tell the school board it could save over $3.5 million by closing 5 schools. That is an average of about $600,000 per school. But all we have to do is look at history and know closing a school doesn't come anywhere close to saving $600,000. We can look to Martensen Elementary which was closed in 2011 but rather than sell the building, it has now become a security center. There are no utility savings, there are no grounds keeping savings. The students went to other schools, so the teachers, janitors, and lunch personnel went to other schools as well. Maybe a principal salary was saved. (not this year because two unopened schools have had principals this year.)
In addition Mr. Bell said that the schools are attractive to buyers and that closing schools could be sold and that money would be put into building improvements. Again look at history, Zerger elementary also closed in 2011, has been shuttered since then but utilities must be kept on to be sure pipes don't freeze and the building doesn't deteriorate. If schools are so attractive to buyers why hasn't this building been sold? In fact Mr. Bell's staff said Doral Academy, the arts integrated charter school which opened in Jeffco this year wanted to rent Zerger. We know Mr. Bell said Doral couldn't rent the building because he had offers, but it hasn't sold. They would rather pay to maintain an empty building than rent it out for cash.
Not only has the district lost potential revenue, the savings Mr. Bell is pedaling have not been anywhere close to what was suggested.
Stephen R. Alley Jr.,
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