Board of Education Update – February 19, 2019 Work Session

Categories: News

Bond Oversight Committee Presents Recommendations on Funding School Improvement Projects

The Denver Board of Education heard recommendations from the Bond Oversight Committee for how to allocate $45.8 million in 2016 bond premium funds for capital improvement projects across the district.

The Bond Oversight Committee is comprised of parents, teachers, industry representatives and community stakeholders who are tasked with providing accountability and advice to ensure DPS responsibly spends the 2016 bond funds.

Committee co-chairs Kim Desmond and Russell Welch outlined the process by which the committee prioritized and ranked potential projects, and the criteria they used to do so, with a notable focus on equity.

During their deliberations, the committee evaluated each potential project against an equity index, which uses multiple measures, including poverty rates and the population of students with special needs, to identify schools that serve more disadvantaged populations.

“This equity index helped us be really clear about how we made our decisions. We took the index that DPS had created before and embedded it into our prioritization criteria, so we could be sure our language was aligned with the same language as the district, but we could ensure we were reaching our marginalized, disadvantaged schools at the same time,” said Desmond.

All schools with a project on the potential premium funding list were contacted and invited to participate in a public comment session last December. Teachers, administrators, students and parents from 18 schools outlined their projects and the benefits funding would have for their school communities.

Based on their criteria, public comment and staff recommendations, the committee reviewed each potential project and recommended $45.8 million of the premium be released for the following areas:

  •      $19.6 million for critical maintenance and ADA compliance
  •      $13.9 million for quality learning environments
  •      $5.9 million for capacity projects
  •      $4.9 million for technology
  •      $1.5 million for safety and security

To learn more, please view the full presentation and visit bond.dpsk12.org.

Board Holds Accountability and Support Conversations 

Schools With Precipitous Drop in SPF Rating Present Improvement Plans

The School Performance Compact (SPC) is the Board of Education’s policy for identifying the district’s most persistently low-performing schools. This year, schools (both charter and district-run) rated red on the 2018 SPF were required to present to the board regarding their improvement strategies and needed supports.

Schools that had multiple consecutive red and orange SPF ratings over the past several years presented to the board in December. Schools that experienced a sudden drop in their SPF ratings – from either yellow or green in 2017 to red in 2018 – received more time to prepare improvement plans. Of those seven schools, four presented to the board at the January 17, 2019 Work Session. The board heard from the remaining three schools:

The board also reviewed the body of evidence and staff recommendations for each school. After presenting the staff recommendations, Associate Chief of Portfolio Management Jennifer Holladay noted that the recommendations were made prior to the teacher strike. Together with SPC board working group members Angela Cobian and Jennifer Bacon, Holladay raised the concern that schools may now be situated differently following the strike than they were when preparing their improvement plans in the fall.

Recognizing that the restructuring of supports from central office will also affect schools differently (particularly by governance type) the board discussed options for providing schools with enough time and support to address the impact of the strike on their improvement plans.

The board will vote on SPC recommendations at its next meeting on Thursday, February 21.