The Jefferson County Board of Education voted in November to close 16 elementary schools based generally on enrollment data and proximity to other schools — data that could be found on the FCB Dashboard.
On Jan. 31, the District released similar data for secondary schools that will be used to decide possible closures in Phase II of Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools.
The District stated that criteria for secondary school closures — possibly including K-8s — have not been decided yet, but said in the past that it will differ from the criteria for elementary school closures.
Data in the dashboard now includes building utilization and enrollment trends as well as financials, staffing information and more for all middle schools and high schools.
Capacity: the number of students that can be served in a school building
According to the dashboard, all high schools were above 45% capacity except for Arvada at 40%. The next lowest capacities were Pomona and Wheat Ridge at 57%. For middle schools, more were closer to that bar with Moore at 46%, North Arvada at 47% and Deer Creek at 49%. Most others were above 70%, with a few at 60% and up.
Utilization : capacity for students versus how many are actually enrolled
For multi-level schools, like K-8s, all utilization percentages (capacity for students versus how many are actually enrolled) were above 60% except for Coal Creek Canyon K-8 at 49% and Jefferson Junior/Senior High School at 55%.
School choice: Ability for students and families to choose which school best works for them
In terms of school choice, more high schools were choiced out of than in, though some only by a hair. The same went for middle schools, but by a much higher margin.
Again, the District has not decided upon criteria yet for Phase II. For elementary school closures, the District looked at schools with fewer than 220 students or less than 45% utilization and if there was another school less than 3.5 miles away. But, this was considering factors that don’t apply to high schools and middle schools.
There are many more elementary schools than high schools and middle schools, and capacities for middle schools easily approach and exceed 1,000 students, with high schools easily approaching and exceeding 2,000.
In a statement released with the updated data, the District said the Board of Education announced a special study session on Feb. 24 to discuss the dashboard data and the timeline for Phase II.