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New Investments for DPS Schools from the 2016 Mill Levy

“With this investment, we are both supporting all kids and all schools, and specifically targeting our money to closing opportunity gaps as we promised in the bond and mill proposal created with our community.”  

Dear DPS Community,

Happy New Year! I hope you and your family have enjoyed a fun and safe Winter Break.

We are currently very busy in planning for our upcoming school year, with a focus on prioritizing our investments in our schools using funds from the Denver voter-approved 2016 bond and mill levy.

Schools in Colorado receive most of our funding from the state government, and Colorado’s schools continue to receive among the lowest per-pupil funding in the country. While the state funding numbers for next year are still preliminary, it is clear that our state funding will not even keep pace with inflation and that the state’s so-called “negative factor” for school funding cuts will again increase.That’s essentially starting our budgeting process with a minus sign.

Given the challenges with state funding, we’re very fortunate, and appreciative, to have a community in Denver that continues to step up and invest in our schools and our children through local tax measures.

The mill levy that voters approved in November means an additional $56 million investment in our classrooms — in supports that have proven to be difference-makers for kids: enhanced early literacy programs, great teaching and school leadership, expanded learning opportunities that support the whole child, the latest classroom technology, and stronger college/career readiness supports.

With this investment, we are both supporting all kids and all schools, and specifically targeting our money to closing opportunity gaps as we promised in the bond and mill proposal created with our community.

With our citizens’ planning committee, we crafted our mill proposals to make sure we better support our kids with the highest needs, and our mill levy spending plan aims to fulfill that promise. At the heart of the Denver Plan is our urgency to close opportunity gaps, and we are targeting money in ways we feel are most essential to closing those gaps. At the same time, we also know how important it is that every school and every classroom throughout the city benefit from the Denver community’s investment.

The focus of our budget process has been and will be squarely on the classroom. All of the charts and graphs boil down to one basic budget formula: maximize dollars going directly into our classrooms and give schools maximum flexibility on how to use those dollars to best meet each school’s needs. That’s been our formula over the past decade. We’ve worked hard to find operational savings and minimize central office costs. And as a result, we spend 95 cents of every tax dollar in our classrooms or school-based activities, with only five cents spent at the central level.

You’re investing in our classrooms and in our children with your tax dollars. That means a lot to us and to the entire DPS community. And it means a great future for our kids. Thank you.

Best,
Tom


Read the full version of New Investments for Denver Schools from the 2016 Mill Levy.