Nothing we didn't already know

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 Leave a Comment

If you read the Denver Post article a couple of days ago, you already know the outcome of tonight's meeting with officials from Denver Public Schools: by next fall, our elementary schools will be at capacity and as many as 150 kids will not have a kindergarten spot at Bill Roberts or Westerly Creek. There are no funds, anywhere, to build a new school. Period.

The third elementary school was a marketing promise, made to get us to buy our homes, that never came to fruition. The funds aren't there, and even if they were, there is nowhere to build it -- the proposed site is contaminated, and Denver's insurer, AIG, doesn't have the funds to clean it up.

If you were there, you suffered through a lesson in tax increment financing (for a good summary, read City Councilman Hancock's explanation here), the results of the Stapleton survey, (40% of us have kids under 2, and 90% of us want our kids to be able to walk to school... hey, just like the target market demographics!) and a convoluted explanation of the variables that go into projecting how many kids will attend our schools ( in the next 3 to 5 years, 1300 kids, give or take, will be entering kindergarten). Only then did we have a Q&A session that, let's face it, was not very productive.

What we really want to know is this: what are our options?

DPS hopes to be able to give us some before the January, 2010 window to choose another school in the district closes. Maybe by October, they'll have some options. Some of those options might include:

- Eliminating the early childhood education (ECE) program for 3 year olds. There, you get an extra 60 or so seats.
- Putting up some trailers or modular buildings.
- Bussing kids to other neighborhood schools. Except you'd have to take the RTD bus.
- Charter schools like Odyssey (oh, but that's really hard to get in) and the proposed Denver Language School (that doesn't have a home yet) because Charter schools are quicker & easier to get running than a traditional school.

One mom told Channel 7: "I think that a lot of people are starting to think that education is not being valued."

Hopefully, the sight of the packed gym put her fears to rest. Clearly, we are a community that values education and demands it for our children -- that is why we moved here. Our schools will be successful if we make them successful.

So what happened tonight?

We showed up. A whole lot of us showed up, and we voiced our concerns. Well, some of us had to shout a little bit, the rest had to write their concerns down on 3x5 cards. Still, our voices were heard.

What happens next?

Good question. DPS said they hope to give us options by October. How will they come up with them? Do we get input? How will they communicate them?

Later today, I'll be posting links to the list of folks who attended the meeting so you can contact them directly. I sure will be.

So... what was your take?

- Stapleton parents frustrated, The Denver Post
- Parents pack Bill Roberts, Fox 31
- Minutes from the meeting, Stapleton United Neighbors (SUN)
- Stapleton School Survey Results, via the Stapleton Foundation


  • Anonymous said:  

    Take RTD buses, are you kidding me? For 5 year olds? What kind of solution is that? I can't believe they didn't say, here are your options we can do x, y, z. It sounds like they just rehashed info you already know! The portable classrooms as a solution, how many kids can fit in one of those, a very tight 30? How frustrating! I guess Forest City assumed families wouldn't be attracted to a new urbanist neighborhood because we ALL want to have ginormous yards and never speak to our neighbors. WRONG! I am so sorry you guys are having this problem as Stapleton is otherwise an excellent community.

  • Anonymous said:  

    As a hoping to be FORMER Stapleton resident, I'm actually bit surprised that it has taken this long for anyone to express frustration about what going on in Stapleton vs what was marketed to us.

    We invested in Stapleton, Forest City, and the Denver politicos when we bought in and moved to Stapleton. But, Forest City seems to have given up on any further progress in Stapleton other than a few ugly industrial buildings that will sit empty.

    It's not just the school -- where's that second grocery store, gas station, the East Bridge Town Center?? Just BEFORE we wrote our checks and signed the contracts the answer was, "Our crews start breaking ground on those projects tomorrow!" Now AFTER we've written the checks and signed on the dotted line, the answer is "Well maybe we will do something after the year 2018 but I wouldn't get your hopes up." Thanks Forest City.

    Stapleton - it's not a dream, it's a little bit of "SUB"urban hell.

  • jade said:  

    e made a couple of trips into Mason City during this time. forest city