Board of Education Update – September 20, 2018 Board Meeting

Board Endorses Amendment 73, Prioritizes Teacher Pay

At the September 21, 2018 meeting the Board of Education endorsed the Great Schools, Thriving Communities ballot initiative — also known as Amendment 73 — that is up for a statewide vote in November. The board adopted a resolution endorsing the recommendations made by a community committee on what the district’s funding priorities should be if Amendment 73 passes. The recommendations include increasing teacher and staff compensation, increasing whole child supports, supporting higher-needs students and expanding early childhood education opportunities districtwide.

Despite the fact that families and community members care deeply about providing high-quality education for kids, Colorado still ranks 39th in the nation for education funding, spending approximately $2,500 less per pupil than the national average. If approved by voters this fall, Amendment 73 would increase income taxes on those earning more than $150,000 a year, generating about $1.6 billion in additional funding for schools across the state, including around $150 million for DPS.

If approved, DPS has proposed adding $36 million to teacher compensation in addition to the estimated 15% average teacher compensation increase over three years DPS committed to pay under the five-year contract that DPS and DCTA worked hard to reach just last fall.

Under the DPS proposal, the $36 million increase would be used to:

  • Increase salary building for veteran teachers beyond year 14.
  • Increase starting salaries for all teachers to $50,000 and to almost $60,000 for our new teachers in our highest poverty schools.
  • Double the current incentive for all teachers in high poverty schools to $5,000 a year.
  • Simplify ProComp and put more dollars into salary-building for all teachers.

DPS and DCTA will meet together next Monday to discuss the proposal, as well as what to do should the ballot initiative not pass.

“We need to ensure that our investments are making a deeper impact, creating quality education opportunities for all our students,” said Ramon Bargas, a DPS alumni who served on the committee.

Board members voiced strong support for the committee’s recommendations, including that the largest share of the funds should be committed to teacher and staff compensation.

Board Member Lisa Flores introduced the resolution into the record, and said she felt the best way to do so was by thanking all those involved. She thanked the thousands of Denver voters who consistently vote in favor of initiatives that bring new funding to our schools, as well as the hundreds of volunteers who worked statewide collecting signatures to put this initiative on the ballot, and the dozens of community members who volunteered on the DPS committee to thoughtfully prioritize how the district could best spend the additional funds.

“Thank you to those who acknowledge that Colorado is the fourth wealthiest state in the nation but we are typically [among the last in school funding] and that this is not acceptable,” Flores said. “Thank you to those who don’t find it acceptable that we now have 84 districts in this state that have gone to a four-day school week.”

“It has been a privilege to serve on behalf of my colleagues and fellow parents,” said DPS parent Sean VanBerschot, who also served on the committee. “It’s an incredible gift to see the value of what DPS would do with these additional funds.”

You can learn more about school funding and how DPS currently spends the resources we have to ensure Every Child Succeeds. You can learn more about the pros and cons of Amendment 73 in the state’s Ballot Information Booklet.