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Reorganization Update: Prioritizing Our Resources Closest to Our Students

May. 3, 2022
 

Dear Team DPS,

Today, we are sharing updates with you that provide a more complete picture of the changes that have been made to make our central support team more efficient. I want you to know that these decisions are responsive to our district’s declining enrollment and its direct impact on our budget. They also address the persistent disparities in our student outcomes. Past methods have not yielded the results our students deserve. More, better and different approaches are required.

The changes prioritize our resources closest to our students and are grounded in the Listening & Learning Tour reportTransition Team Priority Statements, and the findings from Education Resource Strategies. Our imperative has been to keep cuts as far from students and the classroom as possible. It is the organizing principle we rely on. Every determination that has been made has prioritized our students and will position us to work more effectively in support of our multi-year Strategic Plan, which is nearing completion.

When we initially shared news on February 1 about the critical need to reorganize and reduce our central support teams, we all felt the weight of the difficult decisions that would need to be made. While we have worked to minimize the impact of these changes, our options still require us to make some difficult choices. These decisions have been made only after long and careful review of many alternatives over the past three months and with the knowledge that many people will be affected.

At this time, almost all team members who have been impacted by reductions have engaged in individual meetings and have been notified about how these changes affect them. We recognize, appreciate and are thankful for all of their hard work, passion and effort. Navigating change can evoke a range of emotions. Recognizing that we will continue to be in a state of transition in the weeks that follow, we also know that worry, guilt and anxiety may still be part of our workplace after this recent loss of coworkers. We will continue to support each other. We will still focus on being Students First. And, we will close out the 2021-22 school year on a strong note. Our scholars are counting on it.

Looking ahead to the launch of our new organizational structure on July 1, 2022, Team DPS can expect to be organized in ways that are streamlined and more narrowly focused on priorities that will positively impact our students and families. We invite you to consider our previous organizational charts and our new organizational charts. When reviewing what was and what will be, the effectiveness, efficiencies and opportunities for increased productivity are evident. Below is additional information about the reductions that have been made.

Reductions in Our Central Support Teams

Our focus during the reorganization has been on central school supports, not direct to student supports such as teachers, paraprofessional, bus drivers, food services, facilities management, and other direct to student support. There was no impact to DCTA, DSLA, and paid-Portfolio roles. We have also intently focused on our Executive-level leadership during this process. All Executive Director-level and above positions required a reapplication and interview process. There are also fewer of those executive-level positions in our new structure:

  • Deputy Superintendent: 4 in current state, 2 in new state; reduction of 2 positions
  • Chief: 8 in current state, 7 in new state; reduction of 1 position
  • Associate Chief: 5 in current state, 4 in new state; reduction of 1 position
  • Deputy/Division Chief of Staff: 8 in current state: 2 in new state; reduction of 6 positions
  • Executive Director: 30 in current state, 25 in new state; reduction of 5 positions

In our central support teams, we reduced 76 budgeted roles in our General Fund. This reduction has resulted in a savings of $9 million to our general fund. We chose to focus on the general fund because we want to be able to reallocate these funds to a variety of initiatives, which will bring value to our students and all team members. I look forward to sharing details on the recommendations for the use of these meaningful savings during our Board of Education meeting on Thursday, May 5 at 4:30 p.m., and we invite you, as always, to join the meeting online.

Next Steps: Resources for Team DPS

We have and will continue to meet with team members and groups of teams impacted by these changes to answer questions, listen to concerns and strengthen our trust. As we’ve emphasized over the past three months, our culture has been top of mind in this process. And, while it is critical that we all own our role in shaping the culture we want to thrive in DPS, we know our leaders of teams must carry more of that collective responsibility. We have provided resources to team members who have been impacted by the reductions and will continue to make information available to all team members on our website. We will also be sharing opportunities for us to come together in smaller groups as we transition to our new structure on July 1, focus on our collective culture and reaffirm our Shared Core Values.

Reductions are hard on all of us, but most difficult for those impacted directly. To those individuals: you matter, your contributions to our scholars and our district overall have mattered, and again, thank you.

Please continue to share your questions and look for updated responses here.

In Collaboration,
Dr. Alex Marrero