Clear Creek school board asking for money to improve buildings

$33 million bond question would build elementary school, too

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 10/12/21

The Clear Creek School District is asking voters to get behind a $33 million bond that it would use to improve current buildings and to build a new elementary school in the former middle school. …

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Clear Creek school board asking for money to improve buildings

$33 million bond question would build elementary school, too

Posted

The Clear Creek School District is asking voters to get behind a $33 million bond that it would use to improve current buildings and to build a new elementary school in the former middle school.

About $25 million would be used to renovate the former middle school for the new building. The remaining funds would be used in this manner:

• $1.25 million at King-Murphy Elementary School to expand the pre-kindergarten rooms, gymnasium floor renovation, security improvements, exterior repairs and more;

• $500,000 at the middle/high school for athletic field lights, gymnasium floor improvements and security improvements;

• and $750,000 at Georgetown Community School to finish replacing the roof, install a commercial kitchen so the school could provide a hot lunch program, and exterior and interior improvements.

If approved by voters on Nov. 2, property taxpayers would pay an additional $25 per $100,000 of home value and commercial property taxpayers would pay $35 for every $100,000 of commercial property value. The bond would be repaid in 25 years.

Social media posts have questioned the need for the bond, whether the district should spend so much money to renovate the former middle school — called Building 103 — especially with declining enrollment and more. Some have even suggested that since the school district has complied with the Clear Creek Public Health mask mandate, they shouldn’t support the bond.

Kelly Flenniken, a 1997 Clear Creek High School graduate, a school board member and a member of a committee working to inform voters about the bond and its benefits, said the bond was important because it was overdue.

“Every kid in our district deserves to have a classroom and a school building they can be proud of,” Flenniken said. “We need to make some upgrades to all of our buildings.”

She said it was unfortunate that some people are linking masks with the bond vote.

“It is unfortunate that this has turned into a political issue for some,” she said. “I really don’t understand how one can influence another. I hope masks will be a short-term pain … . The bond is a long-term plan to better the facilities today and that our kids 20 years from now will benefit from.”

According to the school district’s FAQ website, located at ccsdre1.org under the Clear Creek Constructs tab, the district believes creating a new school in Building 103 is following community wishes rather than renovating the 80-year-old Carlson Elementary School building in part because the Building 103 site is safer. In addition, the website says, the district would get more money from selling the Carlson property than selling the Building 103 property.

Carlson has a new playground, which was designed so it could be moved, and the district estimates it would cost $60,000 to move and reassemble the equipment, plus an additional $165,000 to prepare sites for both a preschool and elementary school playground.

Pointing to the past, the district says it completed the promises it made with the $5 million bond approved by voters in 2018, replacing two elementary school playgrounds, buying three new buses, creating the new Digger Stadium at Clear Creek High School and more. The only projects in the works are replacing more of the Georgetown Community School roof and finishing the King-Murphy Elementary School playground, which included rebuilding the retaining wall.

The district website said the district is not considering consolidating elementary schools, and it was not considering giving King-Murphy to Jeffco Public Schools, noting that the school district values neighborhood elementary schools.

The district says enrollment, which has been declining for more than a decade, is difficult to project, but it was important to have good schools for current students and to attract other families.

“We also cannot wait any longer; our facilities need much improvement and if we wait, we could easily see enrollment decrease more as families move their kids to newer, nearby facilities,” the district website said.

Flenniken hopes voters will understand the importance of good schools and their impact on students’ education.

“I think it’s the right time, the right package and the most good for the most kids,” Flenniken said. “That is really important to me.”

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