By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) — The effects of COVID-19 have impacted student learning and district finances. When the state reduced the budget, it cut school funding, leaving Denver Public Schools with a $65 million shortfall.

(credit: CBS)

DPS created a Budget Advisory Committee made up of board members, parents, students and teachers. The committee presented its proposal to the Board of Education on Monday.

DPS aims to keep equity at the forefront by minimizing impacts on the classroom and workers at the low end of the wage scale. The district says they’re working to keep the impact of budget cuts away from students.

“That’s something we’re always looking for, to make sure were putting their interests first,” said Tay Anderson, Denver School Board Director.

Tay Anderson (credit: CBS)

Student interests are why Anderson led the push to end DPS’ contract with Denver Police, and use the $700,000 spent on school resource officers for mental health resources. Despite the budget shortfall, Anderson says the SRO money is going where they promised.

DPS is proposing a progressive pay adjustment, resulting in $11.5 million of ongoing savings. Employees making more than $25 an hour, but under $100,000 annually, will see no decrease in pay. Anyone whose annual pay is more than $100,000, whose job is not school-based, will see reductions through a combination of base-pay cuts and furlough days.

According to the proposal, staff members whose hourly rate is below $25 will see an increase of 0.5% to 1.9%.

Last week, DPS shared a savings of roughly $16 million. This comes from adjustments to bell times and changes like switching to Google from Microsoft Office.

The current proposal has no layoffs of any currently staffed positions. DPS says it may need to look at potentially adding staff, like part-time custodians, to handle additional work related to COVID-19.

With this proposal, the impact on staff and students will be minimal. But like COVID-19, DPS’ fiscal planning isn’t over.

“We’re going to have to work with the state to make sure we’re not going to be impacted in the years to come. This is going to be a long term conversation,” said Anderson.

The board will hold a public comment meeting on June 25, ahead of the final budget vote on June 29.

Tori Mason


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