School leaders looks at future programming options

Housing, an art school and selling vacant property among brainstormed ideas

Posted 12/31/18

Leaders in Jefferson County Public Schools gathered Dec. 19 during study session to discuss future programming options and opportunities through group dialog and brainstorming. Some problems to work …

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School leaders looks at future programming options

Housing, an art school and selling vacant property among brainstormed ideas

Posted

Leaders in Jefferson County Public Schools gathered Dec. 19 during study session to discuss future programming options and opportunities through group dialog and brainstorming.

Some problems to work through included a decline in overall district enrollment from 86,000 to 84,000 students, three uncertain school buildings, the proposed new Warren Tech South campus and the changing conditions in Edgewater, which affect Jefferson Jr./Sr. High School.

“We have a longtime successful school at Jefferson,” said Jeffco schools Superintendent Jason Glass. `We want to make sure it remains a viable and strong option, but the neighborhoods around it are changing.”

Some options brainstorming teams, which consisted of teachers, principals and cabinet leaders, came up with were looking at expanding career and technical education courses as well as arts programing at Jefferson. Jefferson is located near the up-and-coming Sloan’s Lake neighborhood, which is becoming a hot real estate market and attracting higher income residents.

“The key to Jefferson may be involving the community in those discussions,” said Board President Ron Mitchell.

The three properties up for consideration are at 581 Conference Place; the former Zerger Elementary School; and 20th and Hoyt. Two of these buildings stand vacant and one, is currently leased to Doral Academy charter school. Options discussed for these properties include selling the buildings, renting or leasing the space, creating a Jeffco School of Art and Design, expanding Warren Tech offerings, creating specialized centers for innovation, teacher training; an considering the sites for other school models.

One of the more out-of-the-box solutions for the 20th and Hoyt site was to scrap it and create low-income housing for school employees.

“I was fairly excited about the concept of building and providing housing for teachers,” Mitchell said after the brainstorm. “I think it’s worth consideration.”

Glass told the board that they will be presented with firm proposals on what to move forward with in the new year.

“Doing nothing is an option,” Glass said. “And it’s not a good one. The positive is that no time in any of our lives has Jeffco had the amount of resources available to do any of what we talked about today. But with 5A and 5B and the demand around programing, we have options.”

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