The Jefferson County (Colo.) district has identified five elementary schools that may be closed to help free up funds to raise teacher pay.
Fox 31 Denver reports that the 86,000-student district also is looking at eliminating 150 positions
The five schools on the chopping block are Peck and Swanson elementary schools in Arvada, Pennington Elementary in Wheat Ridge, Pleasant View Elementary in Golden, and Stober Elementary in Lakewood.
Jefferson County is trying to come up with $20 million to $25 million to increase staff pay. Superintendent Dan McMinimee says nearly every district in the Denver area pays more than Jefferson County. On average, teachers in Jefferson County make $10,000 to $15,000 less than teachers in other districts.
McMinimee says closing schools is a tough decision, but it's the best option for students and teachers.
"Yes, families' lives will be disrupted," he says. "We totally recognize that, but what we hope happens, and the goal for this evening, is to keep our eye on the prize."
In November, voters rejected bond and mill levy measures that would have raised more than $500 million for the district. McMinimee says the district would be in a better position if those had passed.
The district administration presented the closing options to the school board Thursday night. The board does not plan to make a decision until February.
A number of other changes have been proposed to help the district raise more money, include increase in building use and athletic fees, reductions in busing, and cuts in fuel and utility costs.
Video from Fox 31 Denver: