Board of Education Update – March 21, 2019 Regular Board of Education Meeting

Board Passes Resolution in Support of Efforts to Increase Minimum Wage in Colorado

At the March 21, 2019 regular board meeting, the Denver Board of Education voted to pass the Local Wage Option Resolution, which expresses support for local and state efforts to increase the minimum wage in Colorado.

In negotiating the recent ProComp agreement with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, DPS has consistently emphasized the importance it places on investing more in salaries both for DCTA educators and for school support roles.

Introducing this resolution, board member Angela Cobian recognized the valuable contributions of DPS custodians, paraprofessionals, transportation and food and nutrition service workers. “As we raise the wages of teachers, it’s so important that we also honor the indispensable work of the rest of the people who support our district,” she said.

The resolution makes clear the board’s belief that local control of the minimum wage by local government entities is in the best interest of advancing the unique needs of communities across Colorado. The full resolution is available here.

Board Passes Resolution in Support of Proposed Legislation to Address School Funding Issues at State Level

Board member Lisa Flores introduced a resolution proclaiming DPS’ support for House Bill 19-1257 and House Bill 19-1258, sponsored by Speaker of the House KC Becker, Senator Kevin Priola and Senator Lois Court.

Flores noted that when DPS and the DCTA reached an agreement on increasing teacher and special service provider pay it was an important step, but far from a solution to the school funding issues districts are facing across Colorado. “We are $2,800 per pupil below the national average in funding,” she said. “Since TABOR passed in 1993, as a state, we have returned $3.4 billion dollars to taxpayers.”

HB 19-1257 will provide voters with a choice to inject new, much-needed revenue into our public education system and fund solutions to significantly improve the academic success of Colorado students.

HB19-1258 specifies how these funds would be allocated, requiring that the revenue above the TABOR cap be spent one-third each on public schools; higher education; and roads, bridges and transit. “We urge Coloradans to join us in supporting HB19-1257 and HB19-1258 and vote YES on this important measure in the fall of 2019,” Flores said.

The full resolution is available here.

Update on Culturally Responsive Education 

Dr. Carrie Olson shared an update on the work DPS is currently doing around Culturally Responsive Education (CRE), and shared some of her personal connections to the work as a board member, educator and researcher.

Dr. Danielle Harris, Senior Manager of CRE, and members of her team spoke about the educators and leaders from 84 schools who are participating in cohort learning on this essential topic. “On May 7, we’ll be having our CRE teaching day of learning, where all of our cohort members will come together to learn from each other’s experiences and hopefully growing within that space. We’d like to invite the board to be a part of that,” Dr. Harris said.

Dr. Olson also shared that she attended a thought-provoking training by Zaretta Hammond, author of Culturally Responsive Education and the Brain. “I will be working to create key questions I can ask as a board member to see our work through the lens of equity and CRE,” Dr. Olson said.

The full presentation is available here

Board Approves Innovation, iZone, Charter Renewals

The board voted to approve innovation status for Merrill Middle School, and to renew innovation status for the following schools:

The board renewed the Luminary Learning Network, an innovation zone, or iZone, consisting of Ashley Elementary, Cole Arts and Science Academy, Creativity Challenge Community, Denver Green School and Valdez Elementary. Learn more about innovation schools and zones here.

In addition, the board voted to renew the charters of the following schools:

The board also voted to approve a resolution in support of Early College of Denver’s school-based decision to surrender its charter and close at the end of the 2019-20 school year. More information about the school’s phase out process is available here.