The Denver Public Schools (DPS) Foundation was founded to help provide adequate resources and funding to ensure a bright future for every child in Denver Public Schools. We recognize that it takes a lot to realize this vision. Particularly in light of tremendous cuts to K-12 education funding in recent years, it has become even more critical to leverage both public and private resources to support our students, classrooms and schools.
As a member of the DPS Foundation Board of Directors, I am writing to let you know that our board and the Denver Board of Education are in support of 3A + 3B. It is our collective and sincere hope that you will join us in supporting DPS students and schools by voting yes on 3A + 3B on the ballot in November.
The DPS Foundation is committed to galvanizing the support and generosity of the local and national community into tangible and lasting private investment in our schools. In the DPS Foundation’s twenty-year history, we have raised nearly $55 million for a vast array of programs benefitting DPS students, teachers and principals. Last year alone, with the support of this community, the DPS Foundation generated $13.8 million to support our mission. But it’s not enough. We recognize that our entire historical fundraising total can be nearly matched annually with the passage of the mill levy override alone. Our impact is important, and will continue to be needed, but can be significantly magnified and leveraged by the passage of these initiatives.
We recognize that the passage of 3A + 3B will deliver desperately-needed resources to our students and schools. In Denver Public Schools, per-pupil funding has decreased by over $800 (or roughly 10%) since 2009. These cuts, coupled with a 12% increase in enrollment over the last five years, have resulted in significant cuts to enrichment programs, delay of much-needed infrastructure maintenance and over-crowded classrooms.
We support the funding package, and especially the priority placed on quality early education, full-day kindergarten, art, music, enrichment programs, curricular materials and classroom technology. These programs are not luxuries. They are elements of the well-rounded education every child deserves, but will be difficult to ensure without additional support for Denver Public Schools. The cost of the property tax increase on an average Denver residence valued at $225,000 is only $12 per month. This critical investment will pay dividends for our city. Our community will be strengthened by generations of future leaders who have access to the educational opportunities, enrichment programs and learning resources that will ensure their success.
As you know all too well, children only get one chance at their K-12 education. We believe that the proposed package will have an immediate and lasting impact on the students in DPS classrooms today – and for generations to come. The strength of our community rests on the success of our students. We sincerely hope you will join us by investing in the future of Denver’s students by voting YES on 3A + 3B on the November ballot. To learn more, please visit http://togetherfordenversschools.org/.
Chair, Denver Public Schools Foundation Board of Directors