ARVADA, Colo. — After 57 years, Allendale Elementary in Arvada will likely close at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
Teachers at Allendale say JeffCo Public Schools notified them on March 24, a week after the school’s principal announced his departure.
Digital teacher and librarian Brenda Von Kaenel said the announcement came as a complete surprise, and now staff members and teachers have little time to look for new jobs.
“They are supposed to tell the teacher's union if they are planning to shut a school down, and they just completely forgot to do that,” Von Kaenel said.
She said because of the delay, she missed out on 12 jobs she could have applied for.
Parents say the late notice means they have less time to find spots for their students in other schools, as the main open enrollment period has already passed.
In a statement, JeffCo Public Schools said they’re still working with the community, but blamed the likely closure on a 45% decline in enrollment over the past decade.
“Our district vision calls for us to deliver engaging learning experiences, which result in equitable opportunities for all students. The ongoing decrease in enrollment we have seen at Allendale over the past five years has limited our ability to deliver these in a robust way,” a statement from district spokesperson Cameron Bell says.
Some families feel the small size and neighborhood-feel of the school is important for the diverse community it serves. More than half of students at Allendale qualify for free or reduced lunch, and the school serves many English language learners.
“This school is a hub of social services for these families. Don’t take away the supports these kids need at the end of a pandemic,” Von Kaenel said.
Several community meetings were held this week and families plan to raise their concerns during an upcoming JeffCo Board of Education meeting.