Board of Education Update – April 26, 2018 Regular Meeting

Employees Recognized for Milestone Years of Service 

At the April 26, 2018 meeting, the Board of Education hosted a recognition ceremony for team members who are celebrating milestone anniversaries with DPS this year. More than 60 honorees attended the ceremony to be recognized for giving 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 years of service to Team DPS and our kids. Each received a special pin for their service.

“Today is one of the days of great joy, as it gives us the chance to formally recognize and honor our educators who have devoted their careers and lives to Denver Public Schools. We have over 7,500 educators in DPS who have been with us at least five years — coming in day in and out to educate our kids,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “Tonight is an opportunity to honor our remarkable educators who have been here for a quarter century or more, including two educators who are celebrating their 50th year as part of Team DPS!”

Read the complete list of the 244 team members hitting a milestone anniversary this year here. Thanks to all of our educators for your outstanding commitment to our kids. You are truly helping us together reach our vision, Every Child Succeeds.

Historic Joint Resolution with Student Board of Education Calls for Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety 

In a historic moment, the Student Board of Education and Board of Education unanimously approved a joint resolution calling for gun violence prevention and school safety. The Student Board of Education attended a Board of Education work session two months ago and proposed the joint resolution, discussing with the Board of Education members what they hoped to accomplish and what should be included. During the meeting, the resolution was presented and approved.

Board President Anne Rowe said: “We are here to stand up, together with our students, and make sure that our schools are funded to be the safe and inclusive environments they ought to be.”

Student Board of Education Member Jua Fletcher introduced the resolution, saying, “Gun violence doesn’t just reach the homes and communities we live in, but when it reaches our schools — where we are supposed to and deserve to feel safe — we notice it and act on it. This is one of the most successful times we as students have been able to raise our voices and gain support. It is so impactful and motivational for us as students to know that we support our district and our district supports us. Thank you!”

The resolution demands “effective and comprehensive action from the local and Federal government to protect students and school staff”, calls on the U.S. Congress to “ban the manufacture, sale, purchase, possession, and use of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition cartridges, except those needed by the military and law enforcement” and to strengthen universal background checks to possess any type of firearm.

The resolution also calls on the U.S. Congress and Colorado General Assembly to appropriate adequate funds to increase the social-emotional support staff available in schools and new funds to better improve school security.

Board Issues Formal Support for Teacher Action on School Finance  

The board proclaimed its full support for teachers who are taking action on school finance, urging the Colorado General Assembly to adequately fund K-12 education. The board resolution notes the “chronic underfunding of public school education and continued cuts for more than a decade” and states that “the board has strongly supported increases for education to fund teacher pay raises and common education, only to see the legislature fail to find common ground and pass legislation comprehensively addressing this crisis.”

The resolution calls on the legislature to “work urgently on behalf of the children and families in our state to take swift and meaningful action to develop a viable plan to fund education equitably and adequately throughout the state.”

As former school teachers themselves, Board Members Jennifer Bacon, Angela Cobián and Carrie Olson presented the resolution and have been invited to speak at the State Capitol on Friday, April 27.

“This isn’t just about pay for teachers — it’s about their working conditions,” Olson said. “It’s for the teachers who have no screens in their classroom windows and bees fly in and disrupt their lessons, for the teachers who arrive at 6:45 to allow kids in to the building so they can shower in the gyms, for the teachers who go to Costco every weekend to be sure we have food for the kids in our classrooms.”

RTD Working Group Recommendations  

The board passed a resolution supporting the recommendations of a Regional Transportation District (RTD) working group regarding the structure, pricing and equity of their pass programs. The working group included DPS, businesses, municipalities, neighborhood groups and advocacy organizations.

DPS has more than 31,000 students eligible for transportation. While an average of 19,000 students ride the district’s yellow buses, about 2,500 high school students utilize the RTD bus system to get to and from school. DPS currently spends $1.1 million for RTD pass-eligible students, and our schools and Parent-Teacher Associations are opting to purchase additional RTD passes.

In 2016, Denver voters approved $400,000 of DPS mill levy funds to provide access to high quality schools and educational opportunities for low-income high school students through greater transportation options.

As such, the working group is recommending a youth pass with a 70% discount for riders ages 13-19, and a low-income pass with a 50% discount for qualifying riders whose incomes are at or below 185% of federal poverty guidelines. If these programs are passed, DPS would be able to purchase additional passes using our existing budget, providing “additional connectivity for our families to work, job training, and other community resources.”

School Opening Deferred, Charters Surrendered and Innovation Status Renewed

The board approved resolutions that: