Northeast Denver families turned out at the Conservatory Green Campus on October 7 to meet representatives from almost 50 different local schools, whose information booths filled all four walls of the gym.
Before meeting the school representatives, Stapleton United Neighbors (SUN) Education Committee Chair Rebecca Loy showed the DPS charts at right with projected population, existing capacity, and future capacity needs for elementary, middle and high schools for Stapleton students.
The 2016 DPS bond is expected to include funds for a new K-5 or K-8 elementary school on 10 acres north of 56th Ave. SUN is soliciting programming preferences for that future school. As shown on the elementary chart, the population is expected to exceed capacity in 2018 and again in 2022. At present, Loy says, there is no plan for an additional elementary school in 2022, adding that DPS reminds her these projections are for “homes that are not yet built and children that are not yet born,” and it is too early to plan for that school. SUN, however, advocates for setting aside land for that additional elementary school.
Loy then pointed out, as shown on the middle school chart, that the existing middle schools start to go over capacity in 2015 and will be more than 100 over in 2016—calling those numbers “really concerning.” She says DPS is planning to ask for money on the 2016 bond to build another middle school. One of the possibilities is to expand Isabella Bird to a K-8. Since the infrastructure is already in place, that expansion would be less costly than a new building elsewhere. Although Loy suggested other possible options for accommodating middle school students, DPS says they have not discussed them as of this time.
In the bottom chart, the dark blue bars show DPS’ projections for in-boundary high school students, who are guaranteed a seat.
The turquoise bars, added by SUN, show DPS’ commitment to have 35% of seats available for
choice-in students to ensure a diverse student body. Loy points out that the projections don’t factor in any growth in the size of the existing 4th grade class that will start high school in 2019. She says data for the 2009 kindergarten class shows that class increased 25% by the time they were fourth graders.
She also says the projections assume new families moving in will have younger children, as they have in the past, but she points out that demographic may change now that there is a high school. Finally, she says the projections assume over 100 students will go to DSST high school, but it is actually unknown whether all those students will stay at DSST if they have the choice of a comprehensive high school. She says SUN is concerned about high school capacity starting in 2018, since they believe there will be more students than are shown by DPS projections.
For more information visit www.StapletonUnitedNeighbors.com.