“Our lack of investment in education is not a result of economic problems. It is a political problem — our collective failure as a state to invest in our future.”
Dear Team DPS,
I was honored to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with dozens of superintendents from across Colorado at a press conference Wednesday at Dora Moore School, united in our ask that the Colorado Legislature both adequately and more equitably fund our schools so that we can ensure our students have the education they deserve. On average, Colorado provides $9,245 a year for each K-12 student. This is a staggering $2,147 less than the national average — even as our state economy continues to thrive and grow.
Given the strength of the state’s economy, our lack of investment in education is not a result of economic problems. It is a political problem — our collective failure as a state to invest in our future.
The dozens of superintendents from all corners of the state — rural, urban and suburban, Front Range and Western Slope, red and blue — have united around a pressing need for change. The state’s current education funding formula was created 25 years ago and doesn’t address the needs of our students today. The lack of funding means that critical needs go unmet and that over half the districts in the state currently are open for school only four days a week.
We believe that our unity as superintendents is vital in the face of political divisions in the state legislature. That is why we have worked for two years to come up with a consensus school funding reform that all of us support. Our proposal would ensure that students with the greatest needs — including low-income students, English language learners, special education students and gifted and talented students — receive greater funding to meet their individual needs. Subject to a statewide vote, it would add nearly $2,000 per student to schools across the state.
DPS is fortunate to receive additional funds through voter-approved bonds and mill levy overrides to partially offset limited state funding. Yet, many of our fellow school districts throughout the state — already struggling with the impacts of poverty on their students and communities — do not have the tax base to benefit from these alternate funding sources.
As Dr. Joyce Brooks, education chair of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Denver Branch so eloquently stated on Wednesday:
“Money alone will not address all our education challenges, but without adequate and equitable resources, critical issues cannot truly be addressed. There is a true cost to ignoring the educational attainment gap in our most vulnerable student populations. This new school finance formula is providing a road map for what it takes to deliver on the promises we have made to all students.”
Whether you have a child in school, are an educator in a school or have business interests that benefit from an educated workforce — we must come together as a state to push for greater investment in our schools. We must come together to form a statewide coalition advocating on behalf of our kids in order to ensure this problem is addressed by our state representatives. We owe it to our students to put them first and fully fund education in Colorado so that all our students have the opportunity to succeed.
This week, student athletes in DPS and across the country participated in National Signing Day — a day where students sign letters of intent to attend and play college sports. 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.
In celebration of National School Counseling Week, we revisited the story of Cole Rapisarda as he reflected on his experience with his counselor, Liz Gray. Liz was Cole’s counselor at Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences last year.
“I’m so proud of him,” Gray said. “He’s just at a point where he walked in — he knew he needed help. He knew he needed some guidance. But he didn’t know what that looked like. And he was so willing to just do or try anything that I would put out there.”
Now a ninth grader, Cole talks about how Liz helped him prepare for high school. “She helped me as an eighth grader to persevere and push through” he said.
As Liz got to know Cole more, she was better able to advocate for him at the DPS annual Transitions Day event. At the event last year, Liz had the opportunity to discuss Cole’s needs and goals with high school counselors to ensure he had a smooth transition from eighth grade to high school.
DPS is one of 447 school districts in the United States and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the Eighth Annual AP District Honor Roll. To be included on the honor roll, DPS has demonstrated an increase in the number of students participating in Advanced Placement (AP) courses while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of three or higher.
This accolade marks the fourth time DPS has earned this award, indicating strong district progress in successfully expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds. The College Board previously named DPS the AP District of the Year Award in 2016 for being a national leader among large school districts.
Feb. 12: Board of Education work session
Feb. 15: Board of Education public comment
Feb. 11: Get discounted tickets to DPS Night with the CU Buffs basketball team
Feb. 18: Get discounted tickets to DPS Values Night with the Avalanche