Demographer’s opinion on school closure
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Demographer explains recommendation to close some D51 schools
Mesa County parents told the D51 school board they are worried about the proposal to close three area schools.
Blame the recommendation on low enrollment, combined with shifting population growth and aging buildings.
“I do planning for school districts all over the western United States. I’m based in Lyons, Colorado, I’ve done this for about 40 years,” said Shannon Bingham, president of Western Demographics Inc. District 51 hired him to study best options to make sure schools are economically efficient.
He’s made tough calls in districts across the country in areas like Anchorage, Provo, Detroit, Bellevue Washington, and now Grand Junction.
It’s a complex plan that includes transferring students from schools possibly closing to others in the area. The report is a lot of math and a lot of projections, but anyone involved in it will tell you the recommendations are not just black and white.
School administrators say it’s all aimed at getting the most bang for the taxpayer buck.
“What parts of town could we operate more efficiently? I’ve worked for two hundred school districts across the country. I think this is an incredibly well-managed school district.” said Bingham. “But almost all districts in the United States are having financial issues post COVID. I think that this district is approaching its challenges in a manner that’s responsible.”
Last year he told us that the population in the valley will go up over the next five years, but we don’t know how much of that population will be school-aged. He mentioned a lot of young adults moving to the area, but Millennials, statistically, are less likely to have kids.
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