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Three of Colorado’s largest school districts — Denver, Jeffco, and Aurora — are grappling with the same problem: declining enrollment. But each is approaching school closure decisions differently.

The Aurora district has already closed eight schools over the last two years, with some still being phased out. Board members have struggled with the decisions, initially voting against two closure recommendations this year before reversing themselves

Now the district is beginning a process to figure out what to do with the empty buildings, even as more closures are a possibility.

In Jeffco, after abruptly closing two schools in the last two years, a new administration recommended closing 16 elementary schools all at once at the end of this school year. The Jeffco school board is set to vote on that recommendation Thursday. The district will likely also recommend closing middle or high schools next year. 

Denver has startedpaused, and restarted a school closure process over the past two years.  Ultimately, the superintendent recommended closing 10 elementary and middle schools at the end of this school year. The Denver school board is set to vote on Nov. 17.

Parents have a lot of questions about these decisions: How are schools picked for closure? Why are some districts closing so many schools at once? Why aren’t school districts considering academics or the role schools play in their communities? 


Yesenia Robles is Chalkbeat Colorado’s Suburban Reporter looking at changes happening in Denver’s suburban school districts. Yesenia grew up in Denver, graduated from CU Boulder and is fluent in Spanish. She previously covered suburbs, education...

Melanie Asmar has covered Denver Public Schools for Chalkbeat Colorado since 2015. Asmar previously worked at Westword newspaper in Denver and for a daily newspaper in New Hampshire, where she covered education. Chalkbeat is a nonprofit...