CRYSTAL BALL: DPS Raises Taxes, Spends on Admin

The Denver Business Journal just highlighted the fact that last year’s $466 million tax increase for Denver Public Schools, 3A/3B, has so far gone mostly to administration. It’s almost like being able to see into the future.  Amendment 66 dumps a ridiculous amount of money into the Denver Public Schools, but proponents claim that it will not go to overhead.  In fairness, 3B was meant to help with Denver’s school maintenance.  But, 3A was meant to do the following, according to the Together for Denver Schools, or the “yes” campaign for 3A and 3B:

“The mill levy override would expand tutoring programs across all schools that provide targeted supports for students who need additional help to stay on track for graduation. The mill would provide an investment in enhanced enrichment programs such as arts, music, and physical education; counseling services, and parent liaisons; as well as improved technology and updated print and digital textbooks to align with new core academic standards. And it would expand early childhood education initiatives, including preschool opportunities for an additional 850 four-year-olds and full-day kindergarten for all. The mill would also make room in the general fund to allow for the first cost-of-living increase for teachers in the last three years.” [Peak emphasis]

Gosh, those claims sound startlingly familiar to the false claims made by the pro-Amendment 66 folks.  But, of course, this begs the question, why should all of Colorado dump money into Denver for “music and gym classes” when Denver just dumped money into Denver for the very same thing?  Hmmm, maybe 3A and 3B was just the test-run for Amendment 66?

Regardless, here is an accounting of how the 3B money has been spent so far.  Hint – it’s mostly on shiny new buildings for administration, not school building upkeep.  Shocking, we know.  According to the DBJ, $21.5 million was spent to acquire 1860 Lincoln, a new combined administrative office, elementary school and Emily Griffith school.  DPS plans to spend at least another $33 million in renovations at 1860 Lincoln, for a total of over $70 million to acquire and renovate the space.  It’s worth noting that just five floors go to classrooms and six go to administration – pretty similar to the makeup of employment within the school systems.

If there was ever a better reason to vote no on Amendment 66, we can’t think of one.  DPS has already shown what it will do when flush with cash – why should we further enrich them at the expense of Colorado’s families?

 
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