“We believe that those closest to our children — our teachers, school leaders and communities — know how best to spend their dollars to meet their kids’ needs, and they should have the flexibility to do so.”
Dear Team DPS,
Each January, DPS presents a State of the Budget update to our Board of Education that provides updates on anticipated changes in education funding and how we are prioritizing limited resources.
Our north star in prioritizing taxpayer dollars is to ensure our funding decisions align with the Denver Plan 2020 and our Shared Core Values, led by Students First. Our budget philosophy is clear: We believe that those closest to our children — our teachers, school leaders and communities — know how best to spend their dollars to meet their kids’ needs, and they should have the flexibility to do so.
That’s particularly challenging in an environment where Colorado’s education funding is already among the lowest in the country. Education funding is based largely on per-pupil funding we receive from the state, and Education Week’s Quality Counts 2017 report found that Colorado spends $2,685 less per student than the national average. Given Colorado’s vibrant economy, our lack of investment in our schools is not a result of economic factors; rather, it is a political problem that we must work together to solve.
In addition, lower birth rates and rising housing costs have resulted in a decline in the number of school-aged children in Denver. This means DPS is expected this fall to see our first enrollment decline since 2004, ending a period of rapid growth that produced a 32% increase in students.
Facing these budget decreases, this year’s budget again prioritizes increasing dollars and resources in our schools — where they matter most. While 96% of our funding goes directly to schools or school supports, DPS will continue to cut district-level costs. We are reducing between 40 and 50 district-level positions for 2018-19, following a reduction of more than 150 district-level positions in 2016-17.
At the same time, we are focused on Students First by increasing funding and positions in our schools. The reductions in district-level dollars and positions will be offset by increases in school-based funding and jobs, including funding for all elementary schools to hire a full-time social worker or psychologist to support the social and emotional needs of our students.
In addition, all schools will receive an additional 5% increase in per-pupil funding to cover salary increases for teachers, and schools with the highest concentrations of students in poverty will receive additional increases.
While it is always difficult to make decisions to eliminate jobs, we are realigning our limited resources to best support our schools in addressing the needs in their buildings. We are working to support affected employees, whose skills are well-matched for high-demand roles in schools, where we are shifting our resources. By staying focused on meeting the needs of our students in their schools, we believe we are better positioned for future success and ensuring Every Child Succeeds.
Want to get updates about the great things happening in DPS? Follow me on Twitter @SuptTomB.
This week, we marched in the 32nd annual Marade to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Next week, we are kicking off SchoolChoice season with five regional Great School Expos. Learn more about this week’s events in 60 seconds!
Didn’t see last week’s DPS News Now video? Not to worry! DPS News Now videos are posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo every Friday. All DPS News Now videos are also available in Spanish as Lo último en DPS.
Help our DPS families, get ready for SchoolChoice by attending one of our five Great Schools regional expos the week of Jan. 22!
These expos are a great opportunity to:
On Jan. 18, The Colorado Department of Education released DPS’ graduation, completion and dropout data. Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova joined principal Cesar Cedillo, educators and students in celebrating strong graduation results at Bruce Randolph and across DPS.
The DPS Class of 2017 was the largest graduating class in DPS’ history with 3,749 seniors earning their diplomas — an increase of 116 students over the previous year.
Districtwide, 86% of DPS students are persisting through high school — meaning they have either graduated, completed high school or are still in school after four years. And more DPS students are graduating after five years, perhaps as a result of innovative new programs that encourage students to stay in high school for a fifth year.
Read more about DPS’s 2016-17 graduation rates here.