Poudre School District ramping up long-range plan, rumors already flying

Wellington Mayor Jack Brinkhoff wants to be sure Wellington residents have a say as Poudre School District develops plans that could affect Wellington schools.

“I really hope that we can have a voice and be heard for what we would like to see as a community,” he said.

Despite recent rumors that Wellington Middle School will move to a new building in a designated school site west of Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Poudre School District has no such plans according to a statement by district spokeswoman Danielle Clark. Additionally, there are no plans to consider a high school in the Wellington area and there are no plans to build new schools or renovate buildings beyond projects approved through the 2010 Bond Plan, according to the press release.

A Long Range Planning Committee, in the process of being formed, will study data and form a master plan for the future. “PSD is actively planning for future facilities to handle changing demographics,” Clark said.

Collecting demographic data, which is happening now, is the first step toward forming the Long Range Planning Committee. Members will be comprised of PSD staff and planning experts from the City of Fort Collins and Larimer County. The PSD community will be invited to provide input and feedback to the committee this fall.

“We are being told that PSD will be forming an advisory/long range planning committee and unfortunately,” Brinkhoff said, “it looks like we have not been asked to seat anybody on that committee from Wellington.”

When the plan is approved in the spring of 2015, the Long Range Planning Committee may form sub-committees to review implications of its elements, including boundary changes, the need for new facilities, and/or additions to existing buildings, according to Clark. The possibility of a new bond election will be considered to pay for facility needs. At this time extensive community outreach and input will be sought regarding committee recommendations and proposals.

The time line includes third-party data gathering, currently in progress; formation of a Long Range Planning Committee, summer 2014; and community outreach to gather feedback regarding the proposed Draft Facilities Master Plan, fall 2014. All impacted communities will have a chance to provide feedback.

During the fall of 2014 and winter of 2015, the Long Range Committee will modify the plan based on community feedback and will recommend a master plan to the Superintendent.

Spring 2015, the Board of Education will review and approve the plan. That fall the Long Range Committee will create sub-committees as necessary to address the implications of the Facilities Master Plan in affected communities.

“Needs regarding Wellington schools can be addressed during initial outreach efforts in fall 2014 and if further action is determined necessary to deal with boundary changes, new buildings and extension of existing schools, community input and feedback will be gathered from the Wellington community,” Clark said.

Brinkhoff points out that Wellington residents currently pay approximately $2.7 million a year in mill levy that is passed on to PSD. He has concerns that plans to locate a high school on property close to Anheuser Busch might include a new middle school as well, resulting in the loss of Wellington’s middle school to that location.

Anyone interested in providing feedback to PSD should be prepared to do so this coming fall. Brinkhoff suggests that Wellington residents attend any town meetings of the Long Range Planning Committee so that their concerns can be heard.

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