“It has been nearly a quarter-century since Colorado last revised its school funding system, and the time to change that is now.”
Dear DPS Community,
As I listened to our teachers this week describe the difficulties — with Denver’s rapidly rising housing costs, of buying a home or starting a family here in our city — it drove home again the importance of us acting as a community to break our funding logjam.
It has been nearly a quarter-century since Colorado last revised its school funding system, and the time to change that is now. It’s not just our metro-area districts that are struggling — across our state, more than half of our 178 school districts have implemented a four-day school week to save money.
This year, we have an opportunity to do better for our kids and our teachers.
On April 2, state lawmakers will consider a new funding formula on which I have worked very closely with superintendents from across the state over the last two years, to drive a fundamental overhaul in school finance. Nearly every superintendent in every corner of our state, from Holyoke to Pueblo and from Steamboat to Durango, support this change outlined in House Bill 18-1232.“In per-pupil funding, because of the economic recession and because of the way our state amendments work together, we are only now back to where we were 10 years ago in nominal terms, meaning we have a great lag in real terms,” DPS school board member Lisa Flores said Thursday night, before our Board of Education unanimously voted to approve a resolution endorsing the superintendents’ school funding proposal.
“You cannot rent an apartment for the same rent you could 10 years ago,” she said, “and yet we are expected statewide to fund our schools on those same dollars.”
In Colorado, we fund our students at an average of $2,500 per student less than the national average. We are one of the wealthier states in our country yet when it comes to spending on education, we are among the very poorest.
It is not an economic problem here in Colorado, it is a political one. It is going to take all of us, in every school district, in every region of our state, to come together to change how we support our kids.
Please join us in making this change. We urge you to contact your legislator and voice your support for House Bill 18-1232 before April 2. Or, please join me in coming to the state capitol in testifying on the bill. Need contact information? Find it here.
Passing this bill is just phase one of the change we need, and it doesn’t cost a penny. Instead, it creates a formula for more funding and more equitable funding — including more support for full-day kindergarten, gifted and talented students, English language learners, students with special needs and students in poverty — in the event a statewide ballot measure to raise taxes and increase school funding is successful.
Getting that ballot measure before Colorado voters and winning its approval is phase two of this already multiyear process. Changing an outdated funding formula is phase one. Please join us.
This week, thousands of DPS students along with students across the country walked out as part of a national walkout to end gun violence after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month. Learn more about this week’s event 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.
From new classrooms and sports turfs and to expanded technology access, the voter-approved 2016 DPS Bond and Mill Levy is already making a remarkable impact — an “Education Renovation” of sorts — on our school communities. The promised $572 million investment provides critical maintenance updates to our schools and classrooms while improving safety and comfort for our students and teachers.
“A lot of people and a lot of effort goes into putting one of these projects together,” said Tim Coy, manager of quality assurance and warranty in DPS’ Construction Services department. “It is our responsibility to make sure that Denver Public Schools and Denver taxpayers get what they paid for.”
For more details on completed projects — as well as 2016 DPS Bond and Mill Levy projects to come in the near future — visit bond.dpsk12.org.
Click here to watch our in-depth DPS Features video report on the team behind the 2016 DPS Bond and Mill Levy.
March 26-30: Spring Break — DPS schools closed
March and April: Discounted Nuggets, Mammoth, Rapids and DCPA tickets
April 18: DPS Foundation 16th Annual Achieve Gala