Jeffco school district planning multiple elementary school closures

The Jefferson County school district is preparing to make recommendations this fall to close multiple elementary schools, kicking off its long-term plan to downsize its number of schools.

Jeffco district leaders say 49, or 58% of district elementary schools, currently have fewer than 250 students, and/or use less than 60% building capacity. Six elementary schools, in six different areas of the district, have fewer than 200 students, and also utilize less than 60% of their building’s capacity.

“While we have a large issue in this district, there are a few schools that are really facing dire situations with how small they are going into next school year and we must confront those,” said Lisa Relou, Jeffco’s chief of strategy and communications, who is overseeing the plan’s creation.

Jeffco, like many districts throughout the country and the metro area, has seen a steady decline in enrollment for years, which was aggravated by the pandemic. The district in 2021-22 served approximately 78,000 students, down from a peak of more than 86,700 in the fall of 2015. Districts say student populations have decreased due to lower birth rates, as well as higher costs of living in metropolitan areas pushing families out. Projections show the number of students in the next few years likely will continue to drop.

Read more at Chalkbeat Colorado.

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