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Investing Bond Dollars in Our Charter Schools

Investing bond dollars in our charter schools
Posted on 10/28/2019
Jefferson Academy students enjoy their new playground.You know that feeling you get when it’s a really special day, say your birthday, or a favorite holiday? That’s what these kids at Jefferson Academy Elementary are feeling, as they get to try out their brand new play space for the very first time, paid for with Jeffco, voter approved bond money.
And it is quite the space. The kindergartners, first, second and third graders get one side. The fourth, fifth and sixth graders get the other, including a 21st century climbing structure called a web crawler. The upgrade was a long time in coming for this Jeffco charter.

Bentley Ryberg, Secondary Teacher at Jefferson Academy, remarked on the need for a playground renovation. “One of the things we’ve lacked is a nice playground, and now we have it. We had old equipment that came with the old Yoakam Elementary school building and we started out with a wooden crawl thing that they had first. The kids would just get splinters,” said Ryberg. 

“We had a lot of rocks that kids would fall constantly in the clinic,” said Deb O’Neal, Jefferson Academy Secondary Principal. We had ice issues. Sometimes we had to close a playground. So we tapped into the people that were here, mainly our facility crew and veteran teachers, to say what our problems and what would you like. And then we had a team of people including teachers that were involved in the entire design process.”

Safer play surfaces, new landscaping, a new basketball court, and an outdoor learning pavilion were also part of the bond project.

A few miles away, Jefferson Academy Secondary is celebrating its new fine arts complex, paid for not only with voter approved bond money, but with financing from the City & County of Broomfield as part of a joint use agreement. The complex includes a 300 seat performance space that will be used for school productions, a new gym, and four classrooms -- including one dedicated to instrumental music. 

Jefferson Academy Secondary Students, like Owen Crocker, know the impact this new arts complex will have on future students and community members. “It’s going to have a lot more people interested in the arts and stage performance."
Jefferson Academy Elementary and Secondary are among 17 Jeffco charters getting bond help to the tune of $53 million dollars, or about ten percent of what voters ok’d, and all are in varying stages of design or rollout.

“I’ve actually been really appreciative of the support of Jeffco Schools through this process.. I’ve really enjoyed the amount of independence that Jeffco has allowed us to have, while also them being really supportive of our students, said Heather Grantham, Jefferson Academy Secondary Principal. “I really see Jeffco as a great partner in the work, with charters, with option schools, with traditional schools, they really do support all of them at a great level.”

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