Chamberlin Academy in D-2 Will Close Its Doors

By: Leslie Fichera Email
By: Leslie Fichera Email

Students at Chamberlin Academy in Harrison School District 2 were sent home with letters Friday, informing parents that the school would be closings its doors in just a few months.

Harrison School District cites declining enrollment and the changing demographics of the community as the reason for the change. Jennifer Sprague, spokesperson for D-2 tells 11 News there are a total of 135 kids at the school and of that, only 83 students live in the Chamberlin community. She says there just aren't enough students in that area of town to keep the school open and in a financially responsible position for the Harrison taxpayers.

Chamberlin was touted as the first year-round elementary school in Colorado Springs and many parents felt their students were really thriving there with the small classes and year-round attention.

Andrew Reefer has four kids at Chamberlin Academy and says they not only love at that school, but their grades are the best they've ever been.

Sprague says the ‘year-round school’ model as an attempt to bring in enrollment because it had been declining for years, and the program just didn’t draw the numbers that it needed to.

Facing huge budget pitfalls, Harrison has been forced to cut $13.5 million in three years, including about $4.5 million this year. Closing Chamberlin will save the district over $600,000.

All of the students at Chamberlin will now be reassigned to Stratton Meadows Elementary School, less than a half-mile away. Stratton Meadows has a regular school-year schedule, so the year-round option will no longer be available.

D-2 officials say they understand the emotional attachment to the school, which opened in 1958, but unfortunately, it's a decision that had to be made. The building will not be vacant though. It houses the district print shop and the technology department for the district.

District 2 officials say they believe that Stratton Meadows will give students a fuller, more well-rounded education than Chamberlin could provide as such a small learning community. Sprague says a larger school will more programs and opportunities, will get students better prepared for graduation and college.

“Our goal is making sure students have the best education possible,” says Sprague.

Meanwhile, the Reefers say they're worried about their children. This is the second school change for their kids in the last few years; they switched to Chamberlin after Ivywild Elementary closed. The Reefers also live close enough to walk to Chamberlin and that won't be possible at Stratton Meadows. After flourishing at Chamberlin, Andrew Reefer says he's just not sure where his kids will end up next.

Harrison Adult and Family Education School, a program that used to be housed at Chamberlin, has been shut down completely.

All of the staff positions at Chamberlin will all be reassigned to Stratton Meadows.

Although it's normally a year-round elementary, Chamberlin will close its doors in June.

The district is currently deciding on bus services for students coming from Chamberlin. D-2 officials say their goal is to make this transition as seamless as possible for parents.


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  • by Khalila Location: Briggs on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:01 PM
    I have 4 children that currently attend Chamberlin Academy. I researched the schools in D-2 before I moved here and Chamberlin was the one I decided to send my children because of its year round program, test scores and small class sizes. My children have never done better. The fact that Miles and The Board made the decision without hearing from the Parents, students or the staff and teachers was a cowardly move. The o nly reason we have letters sent home was because the pricipal felt we should hear it before it hit the news. Miles Didn't even want to sign the letter she wrote and sent home. He sat in the meeting that we had and was very Nonchalant about everything and basically told us we have no options and we have to live with the decision. We have a lot of parents who will be sending their children to Oak Creek Elementary and he refused a Bus for the Multiple children who will be attending. We asked about redistricting to keep Chamberlin open. We were also Declined.
  • by anonymous on Feb 12, 2011 at 04:25 PM
    Placing Chamberlin students in Stratton Meadows will not enhance the learning opportunities. You be the judge. Do you want your child in a classroom of 25-30 kids or 15-20 kids? D-2 administration has been expanding for years, and will soon move into the Chamberlin building. This decision is about real estate folks, not students. Mike Miles has created far more problems than he has solved. Pity the school board members are so fooled by his bravado.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 9, 2011 at 06:58 PM
    they dont tell it like it is . students came from all over the district and the teachers arent guaranteed a job at stratton meadows either only if positions are open. its not a half mile either .but its within a mile so they dont have to bus . also the park meadows park is known for its drug deal and sexual predators that like to hang around there . thats our shool board at its best
  • by anonymous on Feb 6, 2011 at 04:56 PM
    It is a upheaval and the new school is not always the best but what choice is there when the choice is made for us Best wishes to the parents and the children.
  • by S Location: COS on Feb 5, 2011 at 08:19 AM
    Mike Miles and his cronies fail the students once again!
  • by real observations Location: cs on Feb 5, 2011 at 08:15 AM
    Going by such corny and cheesy attitudes about what side of town is better, I'm not all that surprised to not hear any response from the north end of town about a school on the southside shutting down but a bit perplexed about the lack of responses about this article from the south side where D-2 resides. The loss of a school is sad for all concerned. I wish the parents, teachers, and most importantly the children strength during this time of upheaval
  • by anonymous on Feb 4, 2011 at 10:57 PM
    I don`t believe it for a minute. our son`s school was closed because it is supposedly a flood zone but it is now a day care/pre school. if it is good enough for a day care/pre school it was good enough too stay open as a school! their intentions is probably to move the district office to where it is now and make the school their district office.
  • by CS Crash Location: Colorado Springs on Feb 4, 2011 at 08:17 PM
    Mike Miles = Epic Fail, Epic fiscal mismanagement. The district has $20 million in surplus and they are closing schools? Must be to pay his Cadillac contract.
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