Excellence in the Cherry Creek School District has
always been a moving target -- and it always moves up.
It’s a standard that shifts with the advent of new
technology and the changing demands of our increasingly connected world. In the
coming decades, excellence will mean connecting students with a brand new level
of technology, innovation and preparation for the demands of the 21st
Members of the Cherry Creek Board of Education got a
glimpse into that future during their regular meeting on March 14, as district
officials presented the budget, bond and innovation recommendation. The
presentation detailed the district’s anticipated facility, budget and
programmatic needs through the year 2021, offering a framework for a
budget and bond election that would go to the voters in November.
If approved by the Board of Education during their
regular meeting in April, the bond and budget election would set an exciting
course for the Cherry Creek School District for the coming decades. In addition
to providing funding for a new elementary and middle school, a host of facility
improvements and safety and security updates, the election would decide the
future of a new approach to career education in Cherry Creek.
"Tonight, we set the course for the future of the Cherry Creek School District," Superintendent Dr. Harry Bull said before the presentation. "These recommendations are critical to the continued success of Cherry Creek and represent the next iteration of excellence for our students."
Specifically, the plans call for a stand-alone career and innovation academy that would be open to all high school students
in the district. With curriculum rooted in real-world skills and trades ranging
from automotive technology to computer science to aviation and aerospace, the
facility would offer students a new kind of bridge into viable careers.
The building would not serve as a new high school,
and it would not replace the existing Career and Technical Education programs
across the district, which play an essential and important role in the education of hundreds of Cherry Creek students. Rather, the proposed facility would
expand the district’s commitment to preparing students for the academic and
professional demands of the 21st century.
In addition, some of the funds would be used to create
customized spaces for innovation and collaboration in every elementary and middle school across the
The election would also go toward maintaining class
size, attracting and retaining quality classroom teachers, and funding for
important updates to the district’s security systems and technology.
“Tonight, we set the course for the future of the
Cherry Creek School District,” Superintendent Dr. Harry Bull said before the
presentation. “These recommendations are critical to the continued success of
Cherry Creek and represent the next iteration of excellence for our students.”
The election would come as Cherry Creek continues to
face historic underfunding from the state of Colorado. Chief Financial Officer
Guy Bellville pointed out that the district is being underfunded by $50 million
annually; since 2008, $306 million has been withheld from Cherry Creek. In that
context, the election would seek $23.9 million in a budget (mill levy override)
issue, and $250 million in a bond issue. The cost for a home valued at $350,000
in the district would be approximately $8 per month.
The presentation incorporated input from the district’s
Long-Range Facility Committee, as well as recommendations garnered during the
Cherry Creek 2021 process. Cherry Creek 2021 engaged the entire community over
an extended period to garner feedback about what students should know,
understand and be able to do when they graduate.
That feedback played a large role in the information
presented to the Board of Education regarding a potential bond and budget election.
Associate Superintendent Dr. Scott Siegfried spoke about updates to the district’s
graduation requirements, and how those changes would align with the renovations
and new construction, and led to the career and innovation recommendations.
Planning Director David Strohfus explained that increasing
enrollment in the Cherokee Trail High School feeder area calls for the
construction of a new elementary and middle school.
Assistant Superintendent Sheila Graham also detailed a
range of facility needs across Cherry Creek, including updates to Stutler Bowl,
the Central Transportation Terminal, school cafeterias and updates to the HVAC
systems across the district.
Together, these improvements would pave the way for a
meaningful and relevant approach to education for students in the district,
even as they took care of important, day-to-day needs. The combined effect
impressed board members, who are set to vote on the bond and budget questions
at their regular board meeting in April.
“This is one of the best presentations I’ve seen this
district make,” said Board Member Dave Willman. “It’s amazing how quickly
things have changed.”
Click on the image below to view Budget, Bond and Innovation Recommendation presentation to the Cherry Creek School District Board of Education.