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Money Spent On JeffCo Schools' Phone System Upsets Some

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) - Some parents say the Jefferson County School District is wasting millions of dollars on a new phone system.

The district is spending $9 million to replace their old system. Officials say their current system is failing and is creating a safety issue. The federal government is kicking in two thirds of the money.

Parent Jeri Martinez of Wheat Ridge said all the money being spent on the phone system is troubling, particularly in light of the decision to close her child's school Martensen Elementary to save money. She and another parent, Jennifer Jacobson, told CBS4 they are devastated by the closure.

"I think it's just another example of the Jefferson School District mismanaging the entire process," Martinez said.

Officials with the school district say the new system has been in the works for five years and that it will take about four years to have every school up to date.

"I don't doubt that there may very well be a need for revamping the system, but I have a really hard time believing they need $8 million dollars worth of phones," she said.

Kristopher Schuh, principal at Evergreen Middle School in the district, told CBS4 the system is a "huge necessity." He described an issue he ran into on Thursday as an example. He was in Denver while his wife was having a surgical procedure done and he tried to check in at work.

"I could not get hold of anyone at school," said Schuh, who waited for 15 minutes before he gave up on trying to get through..

"This isn't a new issue, this issue has been going on," Schuh said.

District officials recently sent out a mass email to parents that explains in depth why the money needs to be spent on the new phone system.

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