DENVER, CO—For months, residents and public school districts around Colorado have been debating what to do with their schools and how to handle the state’s massive snowstorm.
While some have opted to leave the city and others are looking to build new ones, some are not ready to budge.
In recent weeks, a few Denver public school officials have said they’ll reopen schools for the summer if there’s no snowfall by the end of the year, and officials say the number is growing.
But some are concerned the state isn’t doing enough to keep the system functioning smoothly, including the school board, which passed a budget earlier this month that included $1.4 billion in additional funding for the schools.
The new state budget, released Thursday, includes $2 billion in new funds to fund schools through 2021, but only about $1 billion is earmarked specifically for school closures, including a $500 million infusion for a new school building, according to the state Department of Education.
Schools have been closed because of the snowstorm, which has been expected to make schools more crowded, and some students are being turned away for the first day of school.
But this year, the school district said it would close its schools in July and have them reopened later.
Some have said the state should do more to keep schools open and operate in a timely fashion, and they want a new building in the future, but they also say schools need to be rebuilt as quickly as possible.
For months now, state legislators have been weighing what to prioritize for the future of public schools.
Some have asked the state to make sure schools remain open for students who are physically or mentally disabled, while others have pushed for a longer school year to keep students safe.
Some of those pushing for more money say they believe the state is failing to keep pace with the new federal guidelines for schools that have closed.
They say that would mean less money going to schools that need it the most, and fewer resources for the state when it comes to hiring teachers and other staff.
The district that owns Denver Public Schools said Thursday it will continue to fund its schools until at least July.
The district also will provide free school uniforms to students and staff.
But the district said some of the money for that will be going to staff members who are working outside the school.
The state is also working with the state department of education to determine what to fund next.
Some districts have asked for extra funding for students with disabilities.
And a group of parents who represent many of Denver’s homeless youth and students has asked the legislature to consider creating a school safety fund.
The governor, who is also running for re-election, said Thursday that while he believes it’s critical to be proactive and make sure the state has enough money for schools to reopen, he’s not looking for more funds.
He also said the government should consider providing support to school districts for the new construction of a new teacher building.