Sixteen elementary schools will be closing after this school year due to a vote by the Jefferson County Board of Education in November. With their closing, the future use of the school buildings is called into question.
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Included in that November vote was a resolution from the Board to create a community-involved process for giving recommendations on decisions involving the use of these buildings, according to Chief of Strategy and Communications for the District Lisa Relou. Part of that process is creating an advisory committee that includes District staff as well as additional specific ad hoc members based on the location of the building being considered, Relou said in a Board study session earlier this month.
According to Relou, there will be a “step-by-step process including value assessment, engagement with local municipalities and special districts, proposal collection, legal review and community engagement, all in an effort to make the best determination possible as to the future of the property.”
The Board is the only body capable of declaring a building to be surplus, and therefore able to be sold by the District. Usage proposals from outside organizations are expected, and the committee — which will be decided upon by Feb. 1 — will draft a rubric to guide decision-making on these proposals by Feb. 21.
“This first process, we have this property, we’ve talked with the city, and now we’re going to have a public information session,” Relou said. “We might have an open house where it’s open most of the day where people can come in and see the property, and then we host a meeting where we give more information. And when we really open this, we’re going to collect the intent to propose — just getting a sense of what people might want to do in these buildings.”
The next step after creating a rubric for these proposals will be March 1, when the Board studies the first round of properties that might be considered as surplus. Next would be March 9, when the Board votes on that round of properties.
“We’re in the process of scheduling, reaching out to all our option schools to see what their needs are or desires might be, so that we are certain that we wouldn’t push things through the surplus process without first understanding if those particular things are of interest to our internal folks,” Relou said.
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