Denver Public Schools Superintendent Proposes Spending Increase, Extended School Days For English-Language Learners

Denver Public Schools proposed a spending increase of approximately $11 million for English-Language Learners (ELLs) and to extend the school day for as many as 15 schools, on Wednesday.

Superintendent Tom Boasberg said during a Wednesday morning press conference that it would be important for the community to invest more in education in the coming year. Under the proposed spending increase, schools would add an extra hour to their day and support students who qualify for reduced lunch rather than only those who qualify for free lunch.

"Money in our classrooms. That is the name of the game," Boasberg said.

Over the past three years the state has slashed K-12 funding by almost $1,000 per student which amounts to an almost $80 million loss during that period.

By dipping into its reserves, as other school districts have done, Boasberg said he hopes the district can invest more in its infrastructure. While $8.5 million in the district's spending plan would be set aside to help hire more ELL teachers, $2.5 million would buy more time for students in schools that submit an application outlining what they would be able to do with that extra hour.

After pulling another $20 million out of the reserves, Boasberg said the district will have about $52 million in savings. Meanwhile according to Education News Colorado, district leaders have said they may propose a tax increase for the November ballot.

"We could talk about getting money to our favorite pet projects all day, we all have our opinions. But at the end of the day, I believe in the policy of having the money follow the kids," board member Theresa Pena said.