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Update: Statement Regarding Use of Mill Funding

DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, Chief Operating Officer David Suppes and Executive Director of Transportation Nicole Portee provided a transportation update to school board members Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.

Key highlights:

  • All $400,000 in mill levy funds set aside for improved access to education opportunities for high school students will be used for this purpose in 2017-18.
  • Of the $400,000, $273,000 has already been allocated for additional bus passes for 630 high school students and $127,000 will be made available immediately for bus passes for approximately 370 additional high school students.
  • This $400,000 is in addition to the $800,000 DPS has already invested in RTD passes for eligible high school students.

DPS also will continue to work with RTD and the City of Denver on broader efforts to provide reduced fare bus passes to students. Please click here to see the full presentation to the Denver Board of Education.

“Right now, we have an equation that’s not balancing. On one side are the hopes, demands, expectations and legal requirements for transporting our students, and on the other side are the resources we have available to spend on transportation,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “That equation is badly out of balance — and we want to see as many of our students get transportation, as efficiently as possible, and so that we can still maximize the amount of resources we are keeping in our classrooms.”

 

DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg released the following statement Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 addressing concerns about the use of mill levy funding for transportation.

“Denver Public Schools is deeply grateful for the support of our community in the 2016 bond and mill levy. We are using, and will use, the 2016 mill levy funds as promised. Currently, the $400,000 in additional funds designated for transportation in the 2016 mill levy are supporting transportation for high school students as well as students with special needs. We continue to work with our community partners, including the City of Denver and RTD, on developing more efficient and more effective transportation plans that will allow more high school students to have transportation and will keep more of our funds in the classroom.”

Background on this issue:

Part of DPS’ $56 million mill levy proposal approved by voters in November 2016 is $400,000 set aside for improved access to education opportunities for high school students. Items in the mill levy proposal were generated by a 75-member citizens’ advisory group and approved by the Denver school board.

At the time the DPS board approved the mill levy proposal, DPS pledged to work with community stakeholders to develop a two-year effort focused on increasing access to high quality schools and educational opportunities for high school students. DPS’ approval stressed the importance of community stakeholders working to secure matching funds from the city, RTD and foundations. It noted that if these matching funds were not secured, the mill levy funds may be reallocated to other efforts to provide greater access to educational opportunities.

DPS currently spends approximately $26 million annually to transport more than 31,700 students. This includes approximately $800,000 to secure RTD bus passes for high school students.

In 2017-18, while DPS continues to work with community partners on the broader two-year plan, the district has invested in bus passes for an additional 630 high school students at a cost of $273,000. The remaining $127,000 is allocated for the increasing transportation costs of students with special needs.

Next steps:

DPS is an active participant in the RTD Pass Working Group, which is expected to present recommendations to the RTD governing board in November. On Monday, Oct. 16, the Denver Board of Education is scheduled to hear a progress update from district staff on this issue.

For questions or additional information, please contact Chief Communications Officer Nancy Mitchell at 720-423-2512 or nancy_mitchell@dpsk12.org.