DENVER (CBS4)– DENVER (CBS4) – A $65 million budget shortfall at Denver Public Schools means cuts will have to be made, but what stays, and what goes is something the board members will vote on Monday. Ahead of the meeting on Sunday, a coalition of organizations came together to call upon board members to look out for students in minority and underserved communities.

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“This is a moment that we have to think differently,” said a member of the coalition.

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It’s a message for equality in tough times.

“I would really like to encourage the board to increase social and academic needs for our students as they come to terms with the trauma of the last four months – both racial trauma and the trauma of COVID-19,” said another member.

Because of COVID-19, DPS is facing an enormous shortfall. Education advocacy groups fear learning gaps and inequities that face students of colors, with special needs and from low-income housing have the most to lose.

“As the board who is supposed to serve each individual in Denver public schools, you also cannot disregard our needs. Recognize our voices, acknowledge our pain,” an advocate said.

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The coalition also wants DPS to address student access to mental health, and access to remote learning.

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“Don’t cut the educators of color, knowing the demographics of our district, knowing the research of students having educators who look like them.”

While the budget has yet to be finalized, DPS released a statement: “The members of our Budget Advisory Committee worked through solutions that kept equity at the forefront and avoided cuts to school.”

In that statement DPS further explained, they made sure to focus on three areas in making cuts; health and safety, social-emotional support for all students especially those most vulnerable, and helping those students who had fallen behind in remove learning, especially those at a disadvantage.

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The budget is expected to be announced sometime on Monday.