D-51 employees share views on the proposed closure of Fruita 8/9 public school

D-51 employees have shared their views with AnneLandmanBlog anonymously, due to fears of retribution by the District.

This message was sent to AnneLandmanBlog by a School District-51 employee who asked that I paraphrase their message rather than quote them verbatim, to help keep them anonymous. The employee fears potential backlash by the District for weighing in publicly on the way Superintendent Brian Hill is proposing to close the Fruita 8/9 public school.

Here is the message:


“It is deceitful, even a lie, to say no one is getting fired in the impending closure of the Fruita 8/9 School.

While teachers with tenure will be paid for next year and given the opportunity to interview for other jobs, it won’t necessarily be for what they have been doing for the last 20 years. Some people will absolutely lose their jobs, and the principals and assistant principals have been guaranteed nothing. Teachers of special subjects like band and chorus will be completely out of luck with their specialty areas. Probationary teachers will be able to interview for jobs, but if they don’t get hired, they won’t get a salary. And in making their decision, the District is giving no consideration to tenure or experience. Their plan is to move the entire Fruita Monument High School staff to the Fruita 8/9 school building, and a probationary counselor will be taking the job of experienced and tenured counselors who will also have trouble finding positions within the District. There just will not be enough jobs for everyone who is being displaced at Fruita 8/9, and for those who do land jobs, their new positions may be far from the fields in which they have experience. The District is saying “no one is being fired,” but it is effectively getting fired because people are certainly going lose their jobs. It makes no sense for 8th grade teachers to be forced to interview for jobs teaching 8th grade — after they’ve already been teaching it for years — and to then not even get any guarantee they will get that job.

At the same time, consider the salaries at central administration. The pay of senior administrators in D-51 has been greatly raised, ostensibly to be “competitive” so they can hire competent people, and we have LOTS of senior admins. But at the same time consider that teachers have no idea what “Area Directors” do except make these high salaries.

I’m attaching suggestions and proposals based on solutions from Jefferson County and Denver Public School Districts, that the Mesa Valley Education Association has given to Dr. Hill, that are legal and that outline ways the District can avoid the type of massive displacement it will cause, but Dr. Hill has refused to consider them.

Also consider the fact that only one D-51 School Board member actually has children in public schools here. The others with school-aged children have enrolled them in charter schools. Almost none of them have college degrees and thus they have limited or non-existent appreciation for higher education and consequently little respect for teachers. The way they are choosing to close public schools gives them a way to get rid of experienced teachers who are finally starting to get salary increases commensurate with their advanced levels of education, for example Masters degrees and above, and replace them with less educated, less experienced teachers who will start at a fraction of the cost.

My hope is that the community will come forward to oppose the way this is being handled, but time is short. The Board will meet on Tuesday, December 12th from 5-8:00 p.m. in the Harry Butler Board Room (455 N. 22nd St.) for a working meeting where no public comment will be taken. Dr. Hill’s plan will be presented at this meeting. Then, at the meeting on Tuesday, December 19 (also 5-8: p.m. at the same location), there will be a meeting to approve it. At this point approval seems a foregone conclusion, but a large turnout from the public at both meetings, regardless of whether public comments are allowed or not, would make a big difference, as would emails sent to Dr. Hill (superintendent@d51schools.org) and all of the board members. (Andrea.Haitz@d51schools.org, barb.evanson@d51schools.org, Angela.Lema@d51schools.org, joseluis.chavez@d51schools.org, willj@d51schools.org, Please encourage everyone to reach out to the District with their thoughts on this and push Dr. Hill and the Board to work in the light. The board conveniently went out of town immediately after the plan was presented to the 8/9 school.”

The attachments the writer mentioned are here (as pdfs):

School Consolidation 1-pager

School Consolidations FAQs 2

MVEA 2023 school closure-MOU

Another anonymous school employee, “D-51 Insider,” wrote,

“You are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. They wanted to get the Fruita 8/9 situation behind them because in the new year we will be announcing the closure of 3 more schools, as promised back in 2022.
Front runners include:
1. Gateway
2. Lincoln Orchard Mesa ES
3. Shelledy ES
There will be a RIF (reduction in work force) in June.  Looking at about 100-160 employees
Encourage people to ask the hard questions at board meetings.”
Below is a newscast by KREX TV News about Fruita 8/9 students walking out of school to protest the manner in which D-51 is trying to close their public school. In the newscast, District 51 Superintendent insists no one is being fired.

  13 comments for “D-51 employees share views on the proposed closure of Fruita 8/9 public school

  1. All I know is I have no faith in this current school board with the likes of Haitz, Jones and the newly elected right wing nut stand for the constitution Evanston…they have the GOP agenda they are sworn to like banning and burning books,etc!

  2. I remember when my kid came home and told me his 8/9 teacher told the class that GJ didn’t need a new school, so there was no need to support the bond. This happened twice. Hmph! What goes around comes around, 8/9. Enjoy your turmoil. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

    • Why does D51 close buildings while at the same time lease space from both CMU and some kinda alternative school by Ginger restaurant on 24rd. When I called and asked, I was told there was no such building. Bulls@&$, my neighbor’s kid attends the place remotely. What does it cost annually to lease these buildings???? Why are we leasing space when we already have empty buildings???? EAST MS? Dr. Hill and his senior staff are liars and incompetent.

      • The building for the alternative school by Ginger Oriental has been leased through ESSR funds since it is an online D51 option connected to an established blended school in D51 (Grand River) after covid. I understand they leased through the end of this school year but after May, staff has no idea where they will be. Many of the staff have been asking the same question (expense) for the three years they’ve been there. From what I understand they were told there isn’t enough room to put all of the staff from that school (both locations) at the EMS building so they’re still looking for a different place to put the staff next year…

  3. I recall Malcolm X’s words in situations like these: always prefer a Republican to a Democrat. At least that way you’ll know that, while both of them are trying to screw you, one of them lets you know and the other pretends he’s your friend. Make no mistake: this is no “pseudo-conservative Republican school board” issue. This is a “Brian Hill is from Texas where schools are big” thing. Former MVEA president Tim Couch was warned last year, but being the sovereign citizen, he’s ALWAYS been anti-Public Education. Current MVEA president AmySue is learning the hard way what Unions are for, and she’s a paper tiger. Enjoy your poverty, Mesa County. They came for East. You did nothing. Now that the board and Brian Hill knows they can get away with it, that’s exactly what they’ll do. You were warned, Mesa County. You did nothing. Now you’re going to get what’s coming.

  4. What do you expect from a county who voted for Tina Peters, Lauren Boebert and Donald Trump? It’s downright embarrassing! I hate seeing so much growth here, but if it means we can get more educated families to move here, bring on the growth! I was disgusted to see the Bible thumper security guard, Barbara Evanso, get elected. Now the board, with the exception of Jose Luis Chavez, is the Dumb and Dumber crew. Their motto is to tear down the government and rebuild it to their Christian minded belief system. Christian Nationalism is scary stuff. I support the Freedom from Religion Foundation out of Maddison, Wisconsin. I’m watching the Dumb and Dumber crew closely to see what religious scheming the try to do. I will be calling the FFRF in a nano second if they pull any religious sky daddy crap.

  5. The D51 board apparently have never run a business. When you move, fire, rearrange, decrease or increase personnel you are spending money. You lose large swarths of historic value for an institution. You lose teamwork. You lose continuity. But when you pull this kind of shenanigans, without a reasonable notice to the community, but most especially the teachers, you are going to lose the ability to recruit in the future. Knee jerk management is not a good way to manage your neighbors. It smells and it make the word why now…

  6. This how corporations reduce workforce and keep on the lowest paying employees. Make them apply for their jobs again and then quietly let them go. Whenever school board members have their children go to a separate system, the public schools see reduced taxes and low quality.

  7. This school board – four of them – are trying to reduce public school enrollment by encouraging charter schools and home schooling with religious instruction in mind. Taxpayer money is disbursed by the district so home schoolers get field trips and other experiences. As enrollment drops, they close schools. Brian Hill is too much of a weenie to stand up to the board, and apparently in love with his $200,000-plus salary. Is that what you voted for, Mesa County? Abandoning perfectly good school buildings that we’re paying for so the school board can impress its church friends?

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