Denver voters on Tuesday approved bond and mill funding measures for students in Denver Public Schools, agreeing to invest $572 million in bond funding to build and improve schools and $56.6 million in operating dollars to support proven initiatives, such as early literacy.
“Once again, Denver voters, thank you for believing in our kids,” Board of Education President Anne Rowe told a cheering crowd of supporters gathered at a downtown restaurant. “This is a great night for Denver Public Schools, and for kids and families in Denver.”
Rowe was joined by her six fellow board members – Rachele Espiritu, Lisa Flores, Happy Haynes, Mike Johnson, Barbara O’Brien and Rosemary Rodriguez – and Superintendent Tom Boasberg in thanking voters for their support of DPS students and schools.
“This has so much promise in what this is going to mean in thousands of classrooms, for tens of thousands of kids, for thousands of educators across DPS,” Boasberg said. “A huge thank you to Denver’s voters.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock quickly shared news of the DPS victory via social media, noting,
“Congratulations to Denver Public Schools! I am so proud of Denver’s voters for their investment in our children and youth tonight. Every child deserves great schools in their neighborhood and this mill and bond helps to make that a reality for all our Denver families.”
The bond and mill proposals were created by a 75-member citizens’ committee, with input from school leaders, teachers, students and community members. Committee members presented their proposal to the Board of Education in June, and board members accepted their recommendation to place the funding package before voters.
The “yes” from voters means all DPS schools will benefit from increased support for classroom programs as well as improved classroom learning environments, such as technology upgrades.
Among the specifics in the voter-approved measures:
- Early Literacy: $6.8 million investment will target training to all teachers in grades ECE-3 and bolster interventions for struggling readers, ensuring students are reading on grade level by grade 3. Students who reach this benchmark are four times more likely to graduate than those who don’t.
- Whole Child: A $15 million investment to help all schools meet the social and emotional needs of their students, a key need identified by DPS classroom teachers. Schools can target flexible funding based on their students’ needs.
- College and Career Readiness: $8.1 investment in real-world college and career opportunities, such as DPS CareerConnect opportunities and dual enrollment in college classes. DPS CareerConnect students are 30 percent more likely to graduate than their peers while dual enrollment students are more likely to enroll in college after graduation.
- Classroom Technology: $6.6 million investment to provide digital coaching, digital curricula and device refresh. This investment is in conjunction with a bond proposal that will increase the percentage of students in a school with 1 device per student from 22 percent to 63 percent.
- Focused Investments in Secondary Schools: $42.6 million investment allocated to 13 baby-boomer era secondary facilities that have received minimal upgrades in recent decades, including Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington high schools.
- New Schools to Meet Growing Demands: $142 million investment for new and expanded campuses in the rapidly growing Northeast and Far Northeast as well as expanding capacity for proven programs across the district.
To learn more about what’s included in the bond and mill package, and to see updates as DPS begins to implement the initiatives, please visit bond.dpsk12.org.