5B is one part of a 6-Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that would invest $705 million into Jeffco Schools. If approved, 5B will provide $567 million for longer life improvements — like major renovations, additions, and safety improvements that some schools need. The additional $138M would come from annual capital transfers from the operating budget and pay for improvements with lifespans less than 20 years, such as carpet and paint. Many school-specific project lists include some items from each category.
Identified facilities needs in Jeffco total $1.3 billion. In developing the current CIP, choices had to be made based the critical nature of the work, area population growth, building conditions, and programming needs.
The CIP, funded predominately by 5B, would improve the average school’s Facility Condition Index (FCI) – the measurement used to evaluate the condition of a facility – by more than 50%. As noted in our Breaking Down the Bond series, there is a wide range of needs across the district. More than a dozen buildings have FCI ratings over than 40 — indicating a potential for replacement.
So how does the district determine which buildings to replace and which to renovate?
There are many factors, but perhaps the most important one is whether the site will be able to accommodate construction of a new building while keeping the existing building open. Three such locations are included in 5B: Marshdale Elementary, Kendrick Lakes Elementary, and Prospect Valley Elementary.
The CIP also includes more than $41 million in improvements for the other schools to address items such as new roofs, removing modular buildings, and HVAC replacements.
In addition to addressing needs in established neighborhoods, the CIP increases capacity in high-growth areas by adding two new schools – one planned for northwest Arvada and one for west Lakewood.
Overcrowded classrooms and schools are also being addressed with 23 school additions, including an addition to Three Creeks K-8. When Three Creeks was built, an addition was part of the long-term plan. However, current enrollment numbers demonstrate that it will be needed sooner than originally anticipated.
Other school additions will permit the removal of temporary buildings throughout the district, improving safety and security. Some Jeffco high schools will receive additions to provide additional space for successful programs or to create spaces more effective for today’s classroom learning. Two option schools – Jeffco Open and The Manning School – will receive additions so that these in-demand schools can offer additional enrollment spaces. In addition, 5B will expand the successful Warren Tech program with the addition of a south campus facility as the third new school.
Jeffco Schools is at a critical point for facilities. If 5B does not pass, the district will need to make very challenging decisions. Some solutions for areas that are at or beyond capacity would include adding temporary buildings, and possibly introducing split sessions or year-round school calendars to accommodate all students.
Without additional space, career-technical education cannot be expanded, and successful option school programs will offer limited access. Overcrowded schools also limit school choice options for families who do not live inside that school’s boundaries.
Annual capital transfers will permit the completion of the most critical roof replacements, plumbing improvements, electrical upgrades, and HVAC work. However, the list of projects which must be completed will grow exponentially.
The only way to slow facility needs would be to increase the annual capital draw. To do so, Jeffco would have to take the money out of the district’s operating budget — negatively impacting students in the classroom, limiting budgets for new resources and curriculum, and increasing student fees.
5B and the CIP address needs in every corner of our 770 square mile district. The bond package provides improvements for all schools, will expand opportunities for all students, and increases the safety and security of Jeffco students and staff.
And, to make these buildings come alive - to competitively compensate our teachers, to provide the safety, security, and mental health personnel needed, and to prepare students for 21st century careers - we also need 5A. For more details on 5A and how Jeffco would use the additional $33 million annually, visit our Mill Levy Override Basics page and the Jeffco Future Funding pages. Vote yes on 5A and 5B.
Vote yes on 5A & 5B and turn in your ballot at a drop-off location by Nov. 6!