A DSST at the old Byers building? Community seems to say yes.

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This email went out today:

Dear DPS Board Members:

The former Byers Junior High building

I am writing in support of bringing the nationally acclaimed Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) to the empty Byers Junior High building at 150 S. Pearl.

In 2003, DPS asked voters to approve a bond package that included $ 8 million for Byers renovations.  We voted for the package, but after the vote the money for Byers was moved elsewhere, without a public process.  This action was not taken by this board or this DPS administration, but it was a violation of the public trust and disrespectful and dishonest to voters like us who want to support DPS.  Please don’t let us down again.  Please keep your commitment and revitalize this beloved community asset by bringing DSST to Byers.

South Denver needs more school choice.  Too many parents take their kids out of DPS after elementary school.  In these difficult economic times parents are spending money they don’t have on expensive private schools or driving long distances to put their kids in their school of choice, or even moving out of our neighborhoods altogether.  By failing to act, DPS is hurting the very neighborhoods it should be helping.  Bring DSST to south Denver to revitalize Byers Jr. High, provide badly needed school choice, and help sustain the integrity of our neighborhoods.

We have heard that the DPS administration doesn’t want to bring DSST to Byers because they believe there aren’t enough kids to fill the additional seats.  But DPS is currently failing to attract the neighborhood kids that are already there – south Denver has the lowest DPS “capture-rate” in the entire city.  And more kids are coming!  Neighborhoods that once had few kids are now full with young parents and strollers.  Our elementary schools are already operating at or above capacity.  I have no doubt that new census data will show a dramatic demographic change and prove that the increased school demand is coming if DPS can capture it.  We need DSST to meet this growing demand.

I was disappointed to read in the Washington Park Profile DPS Board member Bruce Hoyt state that “Byers is not a priority location” for DSST.  Is this the opinion of other Board members too?  I am in strong support of this effort, as are many of my neighbors, so I would be surprised and frustrated that our own elected school board representatives feel no obligation to actually represent the views and interests of their own constituents.  We want our Board members to be advocates for us to the DPS administration, not the other way around.  And we want to bring DSST to Byers Jr. High School.

Please do everything you can to bring DSST to Byers.

You can email the board too at board@dpsk12.org.

What’s with the bait and switch on the money that voters allocated for the Byers building?

A few factoids and links:

  1. Recent article in the Wash Park Profile:http://washingtonparkprofile.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1255&Itemid=170
  2. DPS has argued that seats shouldn’t be added at Byers because of low utilization rate at the M and H levels in the surrounding area.  How, then, can they rationalize spending $20M in taxpayer money to add 300 seats at Slavens?   http://slavens.dpsk12.org/about_facts.asp
  3. 52% of students in SE Denver do not have access to a high performing seat (pg. 71), and they are predicting a shortage of 1,290 seats within four years (pg. 72) 72):http://waller.dpsk12.org/BOE%20Presentation%20Final.pdf

4.     If you click on this link, then type in an address adjacent to Slavens, you’ll find that the middle school for that neighborhood is Merrill:   http://maps.dpsk12.org/

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