The closure of 16 Jefferson County elementary schools in November was only phase one of the District's consolidation plan.
Phase II of Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools — the consolidation plan — will focus on secondary schools like K-8s and middle schools. The Board of Education briefly discussed the plan on Feb. 24.
Currently, criteria for this second set of closures have not been released, and according to Chief of Strategy and Communications for the District Lisa Relou, they have not been decided on either. Part of the preparation for Phase II, she said, was releasing enrollment and other data on the District’s FCB Dashboard, as they did for the elementary schools.
The choice of elementary schools for consolidation was based generally on enrollment data and proximity to other schools, but the District said previously the criteria would be different for the secondary schools.
Relou presented enrollment data to the Board, pointing out that the District is keeping students it already has, even as enrollment declines evenly across all schools.
“As we’ve talked a lot about in this room, this work is a big puzzle, and we need to assess our middle schools and k-8 schools within the context of our articulation areas, and honestly, their impact on one another,” Relou said in the meeting. “And also long-term sustainability as we start to look at rejections.”
Looking towards the future, Relou said a boundary study was being planned that would look at current articulation areas — the area assigned to a specific school — what families want, and why they are making the school choices they are.
Board Member Mary Parker raised a concern on whether the boundary study would be finished before considerations of consolidations had to begin. Relou said certain areas can be prioritized in the study, but it will take awhile.
“I just want to make sure we’re super thoughtful,” Board President Stephanie Schooley said, pointing to the boundary study. “We have cyclical patterns, in some articulation areas more than others, of leaning in without there being any intention of action that follows that, which is incredibly frustrating.”
According to Relou, there is currently no timeline for a vote or action on Phase II.