Denver Public Schools will spend $35.7 million from a pot of reserve bond funds on a slate of building and technology improvements around the city, the school board decided Thursday night.
The projects range from replacing stage curtains at Bromwell Elementary School in the Cherry Creek neighborhood to supporting a school for disabled students to a $25-per-pupil investment in new computers and other electronic devices for students. The district is pulling from $46 million in reserves from a $466 million bond issue approved by voters in 2012.
DPS officials said that current bond projects have come in either at or under budget, which allowed the district to fund additional improvements.
Superintendent Tom Boasberg said the district plans to ask voters to approve another bond issue for school improvements in 2016.
“We are the fastest-growing city district in the country,” Boasberg said. “The demand for improvements vastly outstrips the supply.”
Board members commended the district’s plan to make improvements in all parts of the city.
“We heard through this process about leaky roofs and old buildings…and we know those are directly related to equity and putting kids first,” said board member Landri Taylor.
A slightly adjusted budget for the current fiscal year also passed on a unanimous vote. That budget includes an increase in $1 million for compensation from the district’s ProComp fund, and a slight increase in spending on materials.
The committee replaces the School Improvement Accountability Committee, or SIAC, that previously made recommendations to the board on policy decisions involving school authorization, among other responsibilities.
The district had not been in compliance with a state regulation detailing requirements for how accountability committees are created.
During the meeting’s public comment session, several parents spoke against the district’s plan to replace a dual language program at CMS Community School with a Transitional Native Language Instruction, or TNLI, program. That plan would leave the southwest part of the city with no dual language options.
All of the items on tonight’s agenda passed unanimously.