Fort Collins Unaffordable Housing Costs Directly Contributes to School Closures
This week Poudre School District reviewed a plan to close or consolidate multiple public schools. Polaris, Blevins, Olander, Centennial and Poudre Community Academy schools are under threat of closure/consolidation due to "elevated housing costs that make it difficult for teachers and families with children to buy homes within our district boundaries.” The district also announced that “additional school consolidations” will be considered this year.
YIMBY Fort Collins urges local community leaders and policymakers to consider this as a wake-up call. If we want sustainable schools in Fort Collins, we need to address the housing crisis.
Melanie Potyondy, a city council candidate and school psychologist at Rocky Mountain High School, said, "High housing prices in west Fort Collins are keeping young families from moving here, and we are seeing direct negative impacts on our neighborhood schools. Our city must take assertive action now, so that our housing future is one that is inclusive, connected, and accessible for the children, families, and educators who make Fort Collins a great place to live."
Fort Collins’ high housing costs are the result of local laws that make it difficult to build starter homes. Excessive lot size minimums, parking mandates, onerous permitting, occupancy restrictions, and NIMBY opposition to new homes have all contributed to the current housing crisis. Case in point: plans for over 200 new condos, townhomes, and single-family homes less than a mile from Polaris has been mired in city review and faced resident lawsuits for over five years. Another proposal for over 600 townhomes, multi-family, and single-family homes within walking distance of Blevins was blocked via community petition in 2021.
While the focus this week will rightfully be on students and teachers impacted by future possible closure/consolidation of Polaris, Blevins, Olander, Centennial and Poudre Community Academy, we can’t lose sight of the root cause . Let's make Fort Collins a place where families of all income levels can afford to live, work, and send their kids to school.
For information about the specific policy changes needed to allow more teachers and families with children to live in Fort Collins please visit YIMBYFortCollins.org. Join us in advocating for sensible housing policy.