By Brittney Phua, Stapleton Real Estate Expert
You may have read about the controversy in Stapleton over the school shortage.
I recently heard about a Realtor whose clients weren’t even expecting a child yet, but ruled out Stapleton because they heard that their unborn child may need to be bussed/dropped off to an outside neighborhood.
The good news is that the residents of Stapleton, Forest City – the developer of Stapleton, and Denver Public Schools are all working together to solve this problem with the short term and long term in mind.
There are currently 4 schools in Stapleton. Westerly Creek Elementary , William Roberts , The Odyssey School (which is currently within the walls of Westerly Creek Elementary) and the Denver School of Science and Technology (http://www.scienceandtech.org/).
Westerly Creek currently serves grades ECE-3. William Roberts serves grades ECE-8. The Odyssey School is a Charter school and serves grades K-8. The Denver School of Science and Technology serves grades 6-7 and 9-12. There is a 4th school in the planning stages which will open August 2011.
The short term solutions are to discontinue ECE3 at both William Roberts and Westerly Creek and to reconfigure the ECE4 programs. The Odyssey School will relocate from Westerly Creek to Philips Elementary in nearby Park Hill. This relocation will free up 12 classrooms or 300 seats. The Denver Science and Technology School will also add grade 8 in the 2010 school year.
The planning of the 4th school is the long term plan to address the school shortage. Until this year, a 4th school was not on the horizon due to the economic downturn. A recent census performed by the Stapleton United Neighbors reiterates the dire need for an additional school. According to the survey, the number of children per household in Stapleton is 0.82. From 2010-2013, it is estimated that 1000 + children will enter kindergarten each year. Because of this great need, the planning of the school has been accelerated.
Forest City, the developer of Stapleton will reallocate $5.4 million from a park project to contribute to the new school as well as lend an additional $6 million for the school. Denver Public Schools has agreed to advance $6 million from the proceeds of its 2008 bond issue.
This was a grass roots accomplishment by the Stapleton parents. They protested the delaying of a much needed 4th school. Through focus groups and task forces they along with DPS and Forest City reached a very suitable strategy to cope with the on-going baby boom in Stapleton. There is a Stapleton adage that goes a little something like this, “Don’t drink the water in Stapleton, unless you’re ready to have kids.” Apparently, the water tastes like Kool aid!