Denver Public Schools’ Superintendent explains where money saved by job cuts will go | Education

Denver Public Schools’ Superintendent Alex Marrero provided insight into the district’s reorganization plan Thursday evening and explained where the $9 million the district will save by cutting over 70 jobs will go.

Marrero told the district’s board of education during an executive session that the $9 million — or 6.8% of the general fund — will be reallocated towards:

• Improving wage compensation for district employees such as paraprofessionals and student workers,

• Reducing health insurance costs for all employees,

• Opening at least four community hubs,

• Investing in schools with declining enrollment.

“Our reorganization was absolutely necessary,” Marrero said. “But now that we have funds these four buckets that I’m looking to address.”

Marrero had informed district officials on Tuesday that 76 positions were being eliminated from the district’s central office as a result of declining enrollment.

Officials said in the meeting that enrollment is estimated to drop by nearly 6% by 2025 and means the district would lose $117 million in funding for the 2025-2026 school year compared to 2019-2020.

The cuts do not impact teachers, principals, paraprofessionals or other employees who have direct interaction with students. Fifteen of the positions eliminated were described as executive-level jobs, while the others are central support personnel, Marrero said in a letter on Tuesday.

“As many of us are aware this week has been a difficult one for this organization in particular, regarding the news and decisions that have been made to align, consolidate, reduce inefficiencies and redundancies in the work of our central offices,” Marrero said.

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“We have been guided by serving and supporting every scholar of DPS, which means keeping cuts away from the direct impact at our schools, our students.”

During his presentation, Marrero highlighted the community hubs more than the other three topics and said these will be implemented in a collaborative effort with the City and County of Denver, as well as numerous community organizations.

The community hubs will provide students with “wrap-around supports” to address challenges that hamper learners from fully engaging in their education.

Marrero said some of the services that will be provided to students and their families include:

  • Newcomer identification and placement
  • School enrollment in association with Choice and Enrollment and schools
  • Newcomer and immigrant family specific workshops
  • Free childcare
  • Access to supports in home language
  • Basic needs for students — school supplies, backpacks, uniforms, etc;
  • Support navigating DPS and the US school system.

Individual hubs will also offer other services such as case management, workforce development, GED classes, citizenship classes, computer classes and more. These additional resources will be customized to meet each individual communities needs, Marreo said.

Official planning for the community hubs will begin during the 2022-2023 academic school year.

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Marrero said between four and six sites will be ready by the beginning of the next school year, but will be “interim hubs.” Officials will then determine whether a community needs a hub and will identify permanent locations.

These hubs are direct result of the district’s the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) centers. Students who use those services have just under a 90% graduation rate, which is 15% higher than the district’s average, Marrero said.

“The investment we’re able to make with community hubs from general saving as a result of reorganization will support our students and families across Denver,’ Marrero said.


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