I would like to keep you updated on our important and ongoing Blueprint APS process to develop a new, long-term education and facilities plan for APS. After completing a second round of community engagement during Phase 2, the APS community and our Board of Education has provided the following direction: APS needs to make more efficient use of our buildings to maximize our limited resources, APS should take advantage of regional strengths to provide more opportunities for students and APS should increase choice options at APS-operated schools. As we move into the future, this means expanding programming that furthers college and career preparedness, whole child development including additional mental health services and support for our diverse population of global citizens including immigrants and refugees.
With this direction, the Board of Education has asked district staff members to begin planning what implementation could look like to achieve this long-term community vision. As we shared earlier this year, our district has experienced sharp declines in enrollment over the past few years. Maintaining our status quo, which includes both operating small schools and underutilizing school buildings, costs the district over $21 million per year. If enrollment trends continue, which we anticipate, the costs increase by about $3.1 million annually. Continuing with the status quo means that we would be diverting resources from meeting student needs to maintaining buildings.
As you have likely heard, APS is not alone in experiencing sharp enrollment declines. School districts across the metro area are also planning for significant enrollment shifts over the next several years.
With this in mind, the Board of Education requested a high-level presentation of what an implementation framework may look like. This will be discussed during the next APS Board of Education meeting on May 28.
After the May 28 presentation, planning will continue over the summer months and we will keep you updated via email and the Blueprint APS website. I encourage you to review the report that was released after Phase 1, which includes detailed information about the community-developed scenarios that Board members collected feedback on during Phase 2, the demographic shifts happening in Aurora, national education trends and feedback from community engagement during Phase 1. As a reminder, Blueprint APS is a long-term plan, which will be phased in over the next decade. There are no changes planned for the 2019-20 school year.
I recognize change is often uncomfortable and difficult. There will be difficult conversations ahead, but I challenge you to focus on the responsibility to strategically plan for our future and meet the vision that our community has laid out. Thank you again for your hard work and commitment to our students and community.
Aurora Public Schools
“My job is to accelerate learning for every APS student, every day. I do my job by making sure we have the right people, doing the right work, with the right resources in the right way. My community needs me to do my job.”
- Blueprint APS Website:
- Blueprint APS Phase 1:
- Blueprint APS Phase 2:
- Blueprint APS: School Building Underutilization and Cost (March 5, 2019 BOE Presentation)
- Blueprint APS Phase II Community Outreach (March 19, 2019 BOE Presentation)
- Draft Blueprint APS Framework (May 28, 2019 BOE Presentation)