DPS, on Nov. 21, presented to the Bond Oversight Committee (BOC) their recommendations for use of $33.4 million in reserves from the 2012 bond. The Northfield High School community was hoping to see funding adequate to complete the Commons building as described in the 2012 bond projects. But DPS, in weighing the Commons project with overall city needs, instead suggested a $4 million addition to the gymnasium with two art and two music classrooms.
Karla Rehring, parent of a 2015 freshman, says that after a long process to establish priorities for the bond projects, only two of the current recommendations were on the original bond list—the rest are new. “They should put the voter approved projects as a priority…that’s my understanding of the purpose of the reserve.” (DPS literature about recommendations states that they created a reserve account “to support delivery of bond projects.”) Rehring adds that failure to deliver voter approved projects erodes voter confidence, jeopardizing passage of future bonds.
Rehring also points out that the current contractor’s bid for the high school showed $8.4 million for construction of the Commons building—but DPS’ proposal shows a cost of $14 million for future construction of the Commons. “They’re saying let’s spend $4 million for a band-aid solution…This seems expensive for what they’re doing. We want to do what’s most cost effective. If the cost is really more like $9 million, could we try to find another funding source for the $5 million?” Rehring and other parents recall that in 2012 planning meetings for the high school, DPS said it would be most cost effective to build the common spaces in Phase 1.
Rehring is concerned that DPS’ proposal leaves important questions unanswered. Will the future Commons building have art and music classrooms as originally planned? If so, what will happen to the additional classrooms built now? Is it cost effective to build a temporary solution and then retrofit that for another use in the future? (The Front Porch was not able to get answers to these questions from DPS before going to print.)
Stapleton’s DPS Board representative Landri Taylor says he still supports building the commons now. “I appreciate the initial work by the DPS staff to present criteria for how to use the premium reserves. Nevertheless, I will continue to push for full funding to build the Commons. I will advocate this position to the Bond Oversight Committee as they analyze the staff recommendations and begin the next phase in the process.”
DPS’ sketch of the addition, their proposal for use of reserve funds for the Sandoval campus, and their entire district recommendations are posted with this article at FrontPorchStapleton.com.
The BOC will hear public comments on December 3. To sign up to comment, call 720.423.3210 by Dec. 2 at 5 pm. Written comments can also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. On December 12, DPS staff will give their response to issues raised during the public comments at the BOC meeting and the BOC will adopt their final recommendation to the Board. The Board is expected to take the final vote in January on projects to be funded with Bond Reserves.