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Thursday churn: Closures in Jeffco?


What’s churning:

Jefferson County school board members tonight are expected to take up two potentially divisive topics – censured board member Laura Boggs and a report identifying 15 campuses as candidates for closure and consolidation.

Boggs was censured by her fellow board members at their Dec. 16 meeting for “unethical behavior,” the first board censure in the history of the state’s largest school district. Board member Paula Noonan also asked that Boggs be prevented from representing the board on any committees, but then delayed the request until tonight’s meeting.

On Monday, however, Noonan withdrew her motion. District spokeswoman Lynn Setzer said Noonan cited the desire for a fresh start with the new year. Board members are scheduled tonight to talk about committee assignments anyway, and Setzer said several Boggs’ supporters have indicated they plan to speak during tonight’s public comment.

The censure flap may pale in comparison, however, to a facilities assessment report that board members are slated to receive. The 43-page document states “there are fifteen school campuses that are candidates for consolidation and closure due to current utilization and the condition of the buildings … ”

Sound familiar? It should. A year ago, on Jan. 14, after ten months of study and an emotional outpouring that stretched three hours into the night, Jeffco board members voted to close a single school – rather than shutter the four that were on the table. Talking about school closures is tough for any community and tonight’s report may signal the beginning of some difficult months ahead. The report identifies Jeffco middle schools as the most underutilized campuses by grade level and lists Alameda and Arvada as the most underutilized feeder patterns.

You can read the facilities report here and check out tonight’s board agenda here. The board meeting begins at 5 p.m. with a discussion on board committee assignments. It’s at the usual place, 1829 Denver West Drive in Golden.

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