Plan reflects community input; board to vote on placing ballot measure Aug. 24
(Letter from the Superintendent, June 30) As we approach the mid-point of summer break, I hope you’ve had some time to connect with families and friends over a BBQ, sporting event, an extended trip or at your neighborhood pool. Before we enter the back-to-school season, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on our facility planning work that has been ongoing since September 2015 when our community-based Long Range Planning Advisory Committee (LRPAC) first started to meet to prioritize the many needs in our schools.
The committee’s work culminated in a priority recommendation to the board of education and myself in April 2016. The LRPAC recommended a bond be placed on this November’s ballot as the financial mechanism to fund the many needs in the district. You can find details of their recommendation at www.adams12.org/lrpac.
What You Recommended
Over the past several months, I’ve considered the work of the LRPAC, along with input from you through engagement opportunities such as the Five Star Needs survey and our Telephone Town Hall, to develop a bond plan for the board to consider. Here’s what I heard from you that informed my recommendation:
- It’s a critical priority to invest in comfortable, safe and dry learning environments by replacing such things as leaking roofs, low functioning heating and cooling systems and weakening plumbing systems (95.32% of survey respondents listed this as Extremely Important or Important).
- It’s a critical priority to build new schools to relieve overcrowding (83.05% of survey respondents listed this as Extremely Important or Important).
- It’s a critical priority to enhance school safety through updated security cameras, recorders and electronic door locks (75.96% of survey respondents listed this as Extremely Important or Important).
At last night’s board meeting (June 29), I recommended to the board of education that it place a $350 million bond on the November ballot. The last time voters approved a bond to support our schools was in 2004. The bond proposal would result in no tax rate increase because the district has paid down existing debt obligations and refinanced existing debt to lower interest rates.
The recommended bond plan touches every school in our district and reflects the community’s priorities for our learning environments:
- Safe, Comfortable and Dry Learning Environments, and Renovations and Upgrades – Nearly half of the bond proposal addresses the natural aging of our buildings and the systems inside, as well as renovating and repairing learning spaces to include the arts and specials. This involves fixing and replacing aging components such as roofs, air conditioners, paint, carpet and plumbing that have reached the end of their service life. The plan also preserves and updates technology investments throughout the district.
- Relieving Overcrowding – About a third of the bond addresses overcrowding in schools and unmet demand for career and technical education, as well as early childhood education. This includes a new P-8 school in the Anthem neighborhood, additions to two elementary schools, a new Career and Technical Education Center in addition to Bollman Tech to meet the demand for students who are waitlisted for classes, and more classroom space for early childhood education.
- Safety and Security – Safe and secure learning environments are vital to supporting student learning. The bond invests in safety systems to support protected classrooms and campuses such as upgraded security cameras, consistent security card access and enhanced emergency communications.
Additionally, the bond proposal provides every school with specific funding for instructional upgrades that enhance the learning environment such as presentation walls, makerspaces where students can create and invent, or community gardens. School leaders will engage their communities in how to best utilize those funds based on their school’s unique needs.
When you attend back-to-school events in August, you can expect to learn more about the specific projects your child’s school would receive through the bond proposal.
On August 24 at 7 p.m. at the Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton, the Adams 12 Five Star Schools Board of Education will vote whether to place the $350 million bond proposal on the November ballot.
Thank you for your continued partnership in helping our students thrive in the Five Star District. Enjoy the rest of your summer and we look forward to welcoming you and your children back to school in August.