FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

BUT I HEARD THAT…
facts to clarify questions around the school ballot measure.

We can just build additions to existing elementary and middle schools to meet our capacity challenges.

There is not enough space on our current elementary and middle school sites for adequate solutions that gain enough classrooms and allow for the necessary expansion of spaces such as the cafeteria and library. Additionally, drive lanes for drop-off and pick-up would need to be extended on two sites that are already severely congested from traffic.

Our region already has enough Pre-K services.

Many districts throughout Colorado have preschools in their elementary schools, which minimizes transitions especially for students with special needs and their families. Also, by state law, Colorado preschool programs housed in public elementary schools are required to serve students with disabilities ages 3–5. The District’s program model serves students with special needs, Colorado Preschool Program (known as CPP) students, and general-ed, tuition-based students learning together in the same classroom. Pre-K will be added at each of the  elementary schools.

The district is allowing out-of-district enrollment in spite of its claim of capacity issues.

The percentage of open-enrollment students (non-employee children) in our four traditional schools is 4.1% of our entire student population; the equivalent of one student per classroom throughout the entire district. Across all grade levels and classrooms in our four schools the District accepts open-enrollment students on a case-by-case, grade-by-grade, and year-by-year basis, only where there is space and programming to serve them. The out-of-district students have been accepted on a demonstrated need basis, and do not have any substantial impact on the District’s capacity issues. Colorado law requires that the District accept applications for open enrollment.

Adding a new school allows the district to accept more open enrollment applications from families who live outside of our district boundaries.

This is not accurate. The school district is planning for facilities that will serve students within our boundaries. Enrollment projections are based on in-district students as are all staffing decisions. Out-of-district open enrollment applications are considered in August and are only approved if there is space to serve a student under the staffing and program structures that are already in place for the school year. Colorado law requires that the District accept applications for open enrollment.

The District doesn’t even own the Steamboat II property.

After thirteen months of negotiations, the District closed on the Steamboat II (“Barber”) property in the third week of August, 2019.

There are issues with water at the Steamboat II site.

Water: The school district is discussing with both the City and the Steamboat II Metro District the best approach to bring water to the site. The property will either be annexed into the Steamboat II Metro District or receive water supply directly from the City. In addition, the school district property has wells that the district would use for irrigation needs. 

Sewer:  As noted above, the school district has applied for the property to be annexed into the Steamboat II Metro district.  At the current time, the school district proposes to install a sanitary sewer line parallel HWY 40 to the lift station sewer line, in lieu of connecting directly into the Steamboat II neighborhood sewer lines.  If the Metro District denies the application, the school district will install a septic system.

The proposed school won’t help Strawberry Park (SPE) and Soda Creek (SCE) in terms of space and overcrowding.

Generally, the new school at Steamboat II will allow for SCE and SPE to reduce by one classroom per grade.  At a target of 20 elementary students per classroom, this would be approximately a reduction in 120 students from SCE and 120 students from SPE.  SCE and SPE would be approximately 480 students + PK at each school.  Research shows this size elementary school is optimal.

We’ll now have two of everything (two middle school football teams for example).

The district has gathered and will continue to gather information regarding extra curricular activities from other districts who have implemented this model.  The closest and newest example is the new PK-8 Riverview school built in Glenwood Springs for the Roaring Fork School District.  In the case of Riverview, the middle school students interested in football play on the same team as their peers at Glenwood Springs Middle School.  This is similar to the opportunities provided to students at our other district K-8 school.

We don’t need more teachers if there are already two-plus teachers per class.

There are not two-plus teachers per classroom.  There is one licensed teacher per classroom for grades PK-12.  There are a few select high school classes team taught with about double the number of students in those sections.  The additional six classroom teachers included in the mill levy override are needed to help maintain target class sizes of 20 at K‐5 & 25 at 6‐8 across the district.  

Trailers will continue to be used, even after the new school is built.

Trailer classroom structures exist at SCE and SSMS.  At SSMS, during a past bond measure, the modular structure was physically connected into SSMS.  After review by design and engineering professionals, this form of modular structure was not identified as needing replacement.

At SCE, the trailer classroom structure is not connected to the school building.  This requires students and staff to walk in and out of the main SCE building multiple times a day.  Current school safety and security guidelines recommend students and staff to be in one secured structure during the day.  In addition, these trailer classrooms are not equitable learning environments to other elementary classrooms across the district.  The proposed 2019 bond includes an addition at SCE and removal of the modular classroom to bring all students and staff under one roof.

The District could be paying for these improvements with “per pupil funding”.

Per Pupil Funding is spent on the operations of the school.  The Estimate for School year 2019-20 is $22,571,280, 74.3% of total General Fund Revenue of $30,360,000. Example of Items that are paid from per pupil funding are: staff compensation, staff retirement through PERA, staff health benefits. These funds also purchase necessary services and supplies, such as utilities, snow removal, liability and workers compensation insurance, classroom and building supplies, transportation, and other items.

 

Isn’t $79.5M really expensive for a new school?

Had we built a school in 2015, the cost might have been around $35M. The cost of the proposed Pre-K-8 this time around is $52.5M. The remaining $27M will be spent at all district schools, resulting in increased capacity at each. The community will also directly benefit, gaining new and upgraded sports facilities, including a new gym at the PK-8, new turf at the middle school, community spaces at Strawberry Park Elementary and the middle school.