Category Archives: Jefferson County Public Schools

Jeffco Looks at Offering More Choice

As more innovative education models emerge, school districts must adapt and provide competitive education options to retain students, or face the threat of diminishing enrollment. The Jefferson County school district is currently encountering this exact problem. In recent years, it has seen a declining trend in enrollment­–largely due to the emergence of nearby “choice” schools. To combat the loss of students to innovative schools such as the Denver School of the Arts, Jeffco has begun the conceptualization and appraisal of a new, specialized art school for the district. The “arts academy” would be a terrific effort to integrate more choice into the district, and to allow students to pursue “customized pathways.” I wonder if it’ll have a finger-painting class? The district is also considering reconstructing one of its existing schools, Pennington Elementary. The renovation would likely incorporate an expeditionary education model; however, an expeditionary model is not a set-in-stone solution. Though the school is open to the idea and has shown excitement, there is still time and opportunity for other proposals. In a recent article, Chalkbeat Colorado noted that the “[Jefferson County] officials said they want to have a searchable site where families can enter a program-type they are interested in to […]


COPs and Robbers: A Tale of Two Jeffco Schools

It’s been a little while since we talked about Jeffco, but I couldn’t resist chiming in on a CBS 4 story proudly declaring that the district has broken ground on a “brand-new K-8 school” in Arvada’s Candelas development. The construction of a new school wouldn’t normally merit a blog post, but this particular school carries such political baggage and symbolic value that it’s impossible to ignore. If you dig deep into the locked container in your head labeled “Jeffco Recall 2015,” you’ll probably remember a bit of a kerfuffle last year about the proposed use of certificates of participation to finance new school construction in Jefferson County. COPs, as they’re colloquially known, exist mostly as an end-run around TABOR in that they allow governments to incur long-term debt without voter approval. The Independence Institute’s Josh Sharf explains it like this: The government, in this case a school district, transfers some asset, usually a building or set of buildings, to a special-purpose entity set up specifically to administer the COP.  That entity – not the school district itself – then floats the bond on the municipal bond market.  It then leases the buildings back to the school district for lease payments […]