When Morgan Carroll, congressional candidate for Colorado’s District 6, visited the IJN recently, we discussed public education. According to Carroll, public schools are underfunded, which brings us to ballot issue 3B in Denver, asking for an extra $61 million dollars from property owners.
If I understand 3B correctly — and it’s difficult to discern — DPS is looking to increase its debt by $572 million through this tax increase and “the issuance of general obligation bonds.”
DPS’ current budget of $911 million works out at $10,423 per student. The average private school tuition in Denver is $9,639 for elementary schools and $10,146 for high schools, so why is DPS in a $572 million hole?
DPS is cutting hundreds of teaching jobs or forcing cutback of hours, citing falling enrollment. Yet, at the same time, DPS boasts of increased enrollment since 2009 and part of the $61 million is for “adding new schools and classrooms . . . to address overcrowding and class size.” How can there be increased and falling enrollment? Why would DPS create more classrooms but fire teachers?
The student body populations in both Denver and Aurora public schools do not match the population of either city. Whites, who are 77% of the population, account for a mere 22% of DPS’ students, while Hispanics, around 32% of Denver’s population, account for 56% of the student population.
Carroll admits that “more and more,” parents with the financial means “move their kids into a well-resourced public school district or move into some higher performing charter schools or put their kids into private schools.”
That’s not a good indication.
Should such a system be rewarded with further tax dollars?
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.