After gathering community values and priorities about smaller schools and following the in-depth process outlined in the Board of Education’s Resolution on Underutilized Schools, Poudre School District Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents presented a recommendation to the Board of Education Jan. 11 to close and consolidate one school, Beattie Elementary. (The entire Jan. 11 Board of Education meeting can be viewed here.)
PSD recommended that the other four schools being studied for possible closure--Irish Elementary, Putnam Elementary School of Science, Lopez Elementary, and Lincoln Middle School--remain open.
In introducing the recommendation Jan. 11, Superintendent Jerry Wilson shared this message with the Board and community.
The recommendation for each school was developed following an in-depth analysis of the Closure & Consolidation Plans, Innovation & Efficiencies Plans, Advisory Group and Boundary Representatives’ review of pros/cons, and student achievement data.
"Frequently Asked Questions" about the process are posted here.
A summary of the recommendation for each school (below) was presented to the Board Jan. 11 by Dr. Kevin Hahn, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools, and Manny Ortega, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools.
You can access the detailed recommendation for each school here: Beattie Elementary, Lopez Elementary, Irish Elementary, Putnam Elementary, and Lincoln Middle School.
Summary recommendations are below:
Beattie Elementary Recommendation: PSD recommends closure and consolidation of Beattie Elementary School and consolidation into Lopez Elementary and Johnson Elementary Schools. The following points were significant in leading to this recommendation:
- High quality education is retained for all students: Beattie, Lopez, and Johnson are neighborhood schools comparable in academic achievement, based on three-year performance frameworks that include Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) results and median growth percentiles. Thus, the recommendation aligns with the outcome of retaining high quality education in schools.
- Financial efficiencies can be created without sacrificing quality: With deactivation, or not using the facility as a school, approximate ongoing, annual savings would be $363,391, or more than $1 million in three years. The ongoing savings would be applied to other educational programming in PSD schools. Overall, financial efficiencies can be made without sacrificing educational quality, a key outcome of the Underutilized Schools Plan.
- Educational programs and choices are preserved that meet the needs of students: The early childhood program currently at Beattie Elementary will be maintained and relocated to Lopez Elementary. Current middle school boundary patterns are not affected. Thus, the recommendation meets a key outcome of preserving programs and choices in PSD schools.
- Educational programs and services are enhanced for students: As outlined in the Beattie Closure/Consolidation plan (page 7), the educational programs and services to students will be enhanced through increased enrollment at Lopez and Johnson. The closure of Beattie would allow for Lopez and Johnson Elementary Schools to operate more efficiently within acceptable ranges of utilization.
- Analysis of boundary map codes (see proposed boundary map) indicates a projected increase of 158 students to Lopez, and an increase of 50 students to Johnson. The remaining students attending Beattie currently choice into the school from other school boundary areas. PSD anticipates these students will either return to their neighborhood schools or choice into Lopez or Johnson, or other schools. PSD Schools will be able to accommodate the additional students in their schools. PSD is extending the elementary School Choice deadline one week, to Feb. 18, so families have additional time to make decisions and submit School Choice forms.
- With an additional student-based budget minimum amount of $3,371.64 per student following students to the new schools, consolidation increases Lopez’ annual budget by $532,719, and Johnson’s budget by $168,582.
- These additional funds for Lopez and Johnson will provide flexibility in allocation of resources to meet the needs of students, such as grade level teachers, art, music, physical education, counseling, literacy, gifted and talented services, and paraprofessional support.
- Funds allocated to Beattie through passage of the 2010 mill levy ($68,000) will follow students to new schools, and be designated for the same purposes: to decrease the student/teacher ratio, assist students needing interventions, and provide paraprofessional support.
- Staff Transition: PSD Human Resources will create a fair and dignified process for staff placement. Human Resources work closely with all eligible Beattie staff on smooth transitions to new job assignments in PSD. It is anticipated that the majority of Beattie staff will transition to Lopez with Beattie students. Human Resources staff will work to accommodate requests for placement in specific assignments within Lopez and PSD when possible, and in accordance with procedures outlined in the PSD Employee Agreement.
- Review of Innovation & Efficiencies plans: We commend the work of Beattie and Lopez staff, parents and communities in creating the Closure & Consolidation and initial Innovation & Efficiencies plans. Communications with principals indicate an understanding of the need to revisit the Innovation & Efficiencies plan if schools are consolidated.
- Public meetings are scheduled to gather public input about the recommendation: Public meetings and an online survey will be heavily promoted and held to gather input about the Beattie recommendation. Input will be provided to the Board of Education prior to board action on Jan. 25:
- Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 Beattie Elementary, 7:00-9:00 p.m. (For Beattie parents, staff, and community)
- Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 Lopez Elementary, 7:00-9:00 p.m. (For Lopez and Johnson parents, staff, and community)
- Jan. 14-20, 2011 Online and print (scanned) survey to gather broad public input
PSD will invite parents, staff, and community from Beattie Elementary, Lopez Elementary, and Johnson Elementary to attend public meetings Jan. 18 and 20. PSD will heavily promote these meetings, using the voice messaging system, parent email addresses, the media, and website. At these meetings, parents, staff, and community members will attend small groups with a facilitator and note takers. During the small sessions, participants will be asked to provide feedback on the recommendation based on the community values and priorities that were used by the Board to develop the Underutilized Schools Resolution, and were then used by administration to develop the Recommendation presented Jan. 11. An online survey and printed (scanned) survey will be promoted online and at public meetings. PSD will record all input and provide it to the Board of Education no later than Friday, Jan. 21. Board members will be able to review the input to inform their decision-making prior to Jan. 25.
Lopez Elementary Recommendation: The following obstacles were significant in leading to the recommendation to keep Lopez Elementary open:
- Greater financial efficiencies and educational programming are possible with the closure of Beattie and consolidation with Lopez and Johnson Elementary Schools.
- The potential of limiting enrollment in an International Baccalaureate educational choice/school (McGraw) if Lopez Elementary were closed.
- The Lopez Elementary closure plan would make the two receiving schools (Johnson and McGraw) operate at unacceptably high capacities.
Irish Elementary Recommendation: The following obstacles were significant in leading to the recommendation to keep Irish Elementary open:
- Closure Plan Scenario 1 & 2: The closure of Irish Elementary would negatively impact the dual language program, a highly valued educational program in PSD. Closure Plan Scenario 1 & 2 recreates non-contiguous boundaries and would require double bussing of students within boundary map code areas. Under this scenario, closure of Irish Elementary could negatively impact the quality of the dual language program, and does not create financial efficiencies.
- Closure Plan Scenario 1 & 2 does not preserve the number of early childhood programs available to students and families close to their residence in the north area of the school district.
- Closure Plan Scenario 3 & 4 does not preserve the dual language program to meet the needs of students. The dual language program is recognized as having educational benefit to students in terms of academic growth and 21st century skills.
Putnam Elementary School of Science Recommendation: The following obstacles were significant in leading to the recommendation to keep Putnam open:
- Closure Plan Scenario 1 & 2 South displaces current students participating in an International Baccalaureate educational programs/choices (Bennett and Dunn) if the school were closed.
- Closure Plan Scenario 1 & 2 South does not preserve the number of early childhood programs available to students and families close to their residence in the north area of the school district. A contributing factor associated with the relocation of early childhood classrooms in scenario 2 has an impact on the modified optimum capacity utilization of Irish Elementary.
- Potential relocation of the center-based Integrated Learning Services (ILS, or Special Education) program negatively impacts the program’s quality. Another contributing factor negatively impacting the move of the ILS program would be operating other schools at or above modified optimum capacities.
- Closure Plan Scenario 3 & 4 does not preserve the dual language program for students currently benefiting from this educational choice and option. The dual language program is recognized as having educational benefit to students in terms of academic growth and 21st century skills.
Lincoln Middle School Recommendation: Several obstacles were significant in leading to the recommendation to keep Lincoln open. Closure/consolidation would cause:
- A potential unintended negative impact to a thriving International Baccalaureate (IB) program at the middle school level by eliminating one of two authorized IB programs, and high school level by eliminating an entire middle school feeder school to the Poudre High School IB Diploma Program.
- Students and teachers to be distributed to three different schools in three different high school feeder systems, disrupting continuity for both.
- School choice to be limited in PSD by eliminating half of all IB slots for students, especially with Lesher so close to capacity.
- An increase in enrollment at Lesher Middle School by nearly 200 students beyond its capacity.
- A significant negative impact on other programs such as Lincoln’s Newcomer program and its feeder high school program with Poudre High School.
For in-depth information on the Underutlized Schools process timeline, background, school plans, pros/cons, and other information, visit Quick Links at www.psdschools.org, Underutilized Schools Process.