Stapleton Residents Upset About DPS’s Socioeconomic Busing Plan

socioeconomic busingDPS believed they finally had a plan to appease the sometimes difficult to work with community of Stapleton. DPS has put forth several ideas on how to manage priority for the quickly growing community and their five elementary schools, all located within two square miles of each other. The most recent plan was to create boundaries for each school, much like everyone who lives here had growing up, and then allowing a certain percentage to open enroll to that school, if there was availability.

The discussions have mostly centered on what that open enrollment percentage should be and from the position of DPS, how they can accommodate the community’s transportation needs. It has been a very frustrating situation for everyone involved. Some residents are even concerned about how not allowing open-enrollment will affect their property values. DPS has heard the community; they are just not listening to them. Which is why DPS’s most recent proposal has come under fire.

“I think what people are trying to tell us is that they want the schools to be as even as possible socioeconomically,” said DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “So, what we are doing is taking a look at the existing boundaries, and we are placing a value on each of the households that live there. For example, some students will be categorized as ‘super rich’, others as ‘rich’, and then of course, the ‘not so Stapleton’ kids. Once we have those numbers in, we will have a pretty good idea of how we are going to move along.”

Boasberg says that ‘super rich’ kids will be those with a household income of $275,000 or more, and ‘rich’ kids will be categorized by a household income between $175,000 and $275,000. ‘Not so Stapleton’ kids will be those with a household income below $175,000. “When we look at the numbers, we will see what group is easier to bus around, given the current boundaries,” said Boasberg. “It may be that we have to ship some ‘super rich’ kids from the Swigert boundary over to the Isabella “Larry” Bird Boundary. We’re just not sure yet. That is simply an example, so don’t freak out. Right now, all we know is that we plan to bus kids from different districts to keep each of the schools socioeconomically diverse. Like your Green Book says.”

Many residents are not happy with this plan. “So, there is a chance that my ‘super rich’ kid could be bused, and his ‘super rich’ kid neighbor would stay in the district?” said concerned parent Kate Battenfield. “That makes no sense. We bought this house, in this area, of this neighborhood so that our kids could be around other wealthier kids. Busing completely tears that down.” Other parents agree. “I’m not sure I like the idea of ‘not so Stapleton’ kids being bused to our area,” said resident Paul Dunlay. “We moved here so we would avoid that in the schools. Now DPS says they want to bus those kids into our school. I’m not into that one bit.”

Some people are actually concerned about the kids. “If the buses are not a mix of ‘super rich,’ ‘rich,’ and ‘not so Stapleton’ kids, the kids being bused could have a stigma attached to them,” says child counselor Alison Heller. “For example, kids would eventually learn that the kids on the bus were ‘not so Stapleton’ kids and tease them. Heck, even the ‘super rich’ kids could end up getting teased. So, if DPS does follow through with this plan, I really hope they socioeconomically integrate the buses and not just the schools.”

Boasberg says DPS once again is delaying its final recommendation as they wait for the household income numbers of the homes in each district. “Once we get those numbers in, we can finally formulate a plan,” said Boasberg. “I think we do have a plan that the Stapleton community will get behind.” Not so fast, Boasberg, not so fast.

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