Bergen Meadow slated to combine with its sister school

Jeffco school board to close 15 other elementary schools down the hill

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/26/22

It appears that Bergen Valley and Bergen Meadow elementary schools will return to being one school.

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Bergen Meadow slated to combine with its sister school

Jeffco school board to close 15 other elementary schools down the hill

Posted

It appears that Bergen Valley and Bergen Meadow elementary schools will return to being one school.

If approved by the Jeffco school board on Nov. 10, Bergen Meadow, which houses students in preschool through second grade, will close after the 2023-24 school year. Meanwhile, an addition will be built onto Bergen Valley, which currently has third- through fifth-graders, to accommodate preschool-fifth grade beginning in fall 2024.

The school board heard recommendations for school closures at its meeting on Aug. 25 since enrollment districtwide continues to decrease. Fifteen other elementary schools in the district — all down the hill — are slated to close in June and combine with nearby schools.

Before the Nov. 10 decision, district officials promised community meetings to get feedback from the public and public-comment periods at board meetings.

Bergen Meadow, which is off of Bergen Parkway behind the Evergreen Fire/Rescue Administration Building, was built in 1970. It was known as Bergen Elementary School, and it housed all elementary school grades. Bergen Valley, which is on Sugarbush Drive about 1.7 miles away, was constructed in 1997 to provide more space for the overcrowded Bergen Elementary.

Bergen Meadow and Bergen Valley — known collectively as The Bergens — share a principal, buses, a PTA and more.

District officials called the change at The Bergens a “special circumstance” since Bergen Meadow has a sister school. According to data provided by the school district, only 44% of the Bergen Meadow building is being used with about 193 students.

Jeffco currently serves 69,000 students when it has the capacity to serve 96,000 students. The district lost 5,000 students between 2019 and 2022, officials said.

“There is no joy in what we are presenting here tonight, but it is the work we believe needs to be done,” Lisa Relou, Jeffco’s chief of strategy and communication, said at the board meeting.

Evergreen elementary schools generally have seen enrollment declines, and census data show that Evergreen is aging, with the largest percentage of the population — 33% —between 50 and 69. According to the data, 7% are 20-29, 12% are 30-39 and 14% are 40-49.

Longtime Evergreen residents suggest that Evergreen elementary schools have seen enrollment decreases in part because some families have chosen online options, especially since the pandemic, plus the area also has options in Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen, which is a public charter school, and three private schools: the two campuses of Montessori School of Evergreen and Evergreen Country Day School.

Closing elementary schools is phase 1 of the district's consolidation plan called “Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools.” Phase two, which is expected to begin in January, will include looking at possible consolidations at middle schools and high schools throughout the district.

Jeffco officials believe that closing some elementary schools — while difficult for families and school staff — is the right way to proceed.

“It is hard on all school communities when we do not efficiently utilize our resources and take advantage of economies of scale,” information from the district said. “Most importantly, it creates inequities in the educational opportunities that schools are able to provide to students due to budget limitations.”

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