View feedback on proposed budget scenarios
View the Budget Redesign Open House video
View our current summary and next steps

APS Budget Redesign Process image - Books and Piggy BankWe are grateful that Aurora voters approved our $300 million bond measure, which will benefit every school and student in our district. While bond funds may be used for capital construction or technology improvements, they cannot be used for any school district costs such as staffing, educational programs, materials or operations. This long-term investment by our community will help address our historical growth and overcrowding by funding many building, safety and technology improvements.

Historical Student Enrollment Trends
As a district, we have experienced an average of 2.5% growth in student enrollment for the last ten years. This long-term pattern of growth shaped our budgeting and staffing approach for at least the last decade, where each year we planned to serve significantly more students across the entire district. This historical budgeting assumption was challenged last year when APS and many other Denver metro districts saw a slowdown in the rate of growth. In the 2015-16 school year, we implemented several short-term budgetary methods such as reducing district level expenditures and spending down $8.2 million of our fund balance (you might think of this as our short-term “savings account”) to address the unexpected change in growth rates. As we prepared for 2016-17, we set conservative parameters for our budget, including limiting compensation increases.

As you know, 2016-17 enrollment in our traditional and charter schools are down by more than 700 students. This enrollment shift now represents a trend as well as the first actual decrease in overall enrollment in APS since 2007. Because of this shortfall, we were forced to spend an additional $9.6 million of our fund balance and reduce our current year budget by approximately $3 million. Even though these budget-balancing measures impacted the level of service that schools receive from district offices, we worked to keep budget cuts away from schools and classrooms this school year by reducing central office expenditures as we did in the 2015-16 school year.

As we begin the process of developing the 2017-18 budget, we have to consider whether our historical pattern of planning for increased enrollment is valid. While there are many data points to consider, there are two significant factors which seem to be driving our enrollment shift: the increasing costs of living in Original Aurora and the effect of declining birth rates during the Great Recession. The declining birth rates during that period have resulted in fewer kindergarten students, which will over time impact our upper grade enrollment numbers. While these and other factors are likely to result in fewer overall students, they do not necessarily impact overcrowding in parts of the district.

Compounding Budgetary Factors
Historically, APS has also seen a continued increase in our at-risk percentage, which includes students who qualify for free lunch as well as a subset of our English language learners. This has resulted in supplemental funding from various state and federal sources. Over the last two years, in addition to an overall enrollment decline, our at-risk percentage has dropped sharply from 65.2 percent in 2014-15 to 59.9 percent this year. We are forecasting that our at-risk percentage will continue to decline, resulting in even less supplemental funding.

Furthermore, state funding for K-12 education has been greatly impacted by the “Negative Factor”. The negative factor is a state budget balancing measure that allows state government to reduce revenues to K-12 education. For APS, this has meant a reduction in revenues of about $280 million since the 2009-10 school year. For next year, we are anticipating another $43 million reduction in K-12 funding statewide due to the negative factor.

2017-18 Budget Planning
This represents a “new normal” for our district and challenges us to think differently about how we develop our budget and serve our students. We need to eliminate our reliance on short-term budget-balancing measures and begin to implement long-term structural changes. As a result, we are developing a 2017-2018 general fund budget of approximately $319 million. This is a change from the 2016-17 budget of approximately $350 million, which will require us to reduce our budget by $31 million. This figure includes an expected reduction in school-based staffing due to our enrollment decline.

Gathering budget ideas from APS Staff
As we begin our budgeting process for the 2017-18 school year and beyond, we first began asking APS staff members for their input and ideas on how we can better use our limited funds to serve our students and families.

Specifically, we began evaluating ideas on ways to increase our efficiency while reducing dedicated resources. Staff ideas included suggestions related practices, programs and/or positions.

Strategic Budget Advisory Committee
After collecting staff feedback, we formed a Strategic Budget Advisory Committee to help guide our budget redesign. The committee considered the ideas collected from APS staff members and has provided recommendations to the Leadership Team. Committee members include representatives from the Board of Education as well as all APS employee groups, parents and community members.

Budget Open Houses
After the committee finalizes their recommendations, they will present their findings to our community for feedback in a series of open houses in January. Please note that students, parents and community members will have the opportunity to provide their feedback on the recommendations during these open houses.

Next Steps
Once we have incorporated our staff, parent and community feedback, the Leadership Team will present our preliminary 2017-18 budget to the District Accountability Advisory Committee in April. We will then propose the budget to our Board of Education in May.

I know that tough decisions lie ahead and I recognize that these budget conversations will be difficult. I am confident that together we can find solutions that continue to help every APS student shape a successful future.

 

 

 

View budget redesign archives

Thank you APS voters for approving our $300 million bond measure, which will benefit every school and student in our district. While bond funds may be used for capital construction or technology improvements, they cannot be used for any school district costs such as staffing, educational programs, materials or operations. As we redesign the budget to address these school district costs, please view the video below to learn more about some of the factors impacting our current budget situation.

light-bulb to gather budget ideas from APS staff membersStrategic Budget Redesign Process

For the 2017-18 school year, we are developing a general fund budget of approximately $319 million. This is a change from the 2016-17 budget of approximately $350 million, which will require us to reduce our budget by $31 million. This figure includes an expected reduction in school-based staffing due to our enrollment decline.

As we begin our budgeting process for the 2017-18 school year and beyond, we first began asking APS staff members for their input and ideas on how we can better use our limited funds to serve our students and families.

Specifically, we began evaluating ideas on ways to increase our efficiency while reducing dedicated resources. Staff ideas included suggestions related practices, programs and/or positions. 

After collecting staff feedback, we formed a Strategic Budget Advisory Committee to help guide our budget redesign. The committee considered the ideas collected from APS staff members and has provided recommendations to the Leadership Team. Committee members include representatives from the Board of Education as well as all APS employee groups, parents and community members.

After the committee finalizes their recommendations, they will present their findings to our community for feedback in a series of open houses in January. Please note that students, parents and community members will have the opportunity to provide their feedback on the recommendations during these open houses.

Once we have incorporated our staff, parent and community feedback, the Leadership Team will present our preliminary 2017-18 budget to the District Accountability Advisory Committee in April. We will then propose the budget to our Board of Education in May.

 

 

 

 

 

Strategic Budget Advisory Committee

After collecting staff feedback, APS formed a Strategic Budget Advisory Committee to help inform our budget redesign. The committee will consider the ideas collected from APS staff members and provide recommendations to the APS Leadership Team. Committee members include representatives from the APS Board of Education as well as APS staff, parents and community members. Once the committee has finalized their recommendations, we will present ideas to the APS community for feedback in a series of open houses in January.

Strategic Budget Advisory Committee Members

NAME STAKEHOLDER INTEREST
Mark Cavanaugh Facilitator
Rico Munn Superintendent, APS Parent
Barbara Yamrick Board of Education, Community Member
Aaron Oberg Budget Director - Interim CFO
Gina Lanier Finance Controller - Interim CFO
Marcelina Rivera Chief of Staff
Gina Salvano APS Teacher
Courtney Black APS Charter School
John Wolfkill Community Member
Adam Young APS Parent, APS Athletic Coach
Lucero Chavez Cruz APS Parent, EPAC Member
Veronica Palmer Community Member
Simone Ross Community Member, APS Parent, APS Foundation Board Member
William Stuart Community/ACES Member, Retired APS Employee
Rudy Andras Community Member
Roberto Venegas Community Member
Amy Nichols Licensed Staff
Elizabeth Weiland Classified Employee
Eric Elmore Classified Employee
Ron Schumacher Principal
Michelle Davis Principal
Carole Jennings Learning Community Director
Shawn Smith APS Admin/PT Staff
RESOURCE MEMBERS
Lamont Browne Office of Autonomous Schools
Dackri Davis Principal
Cheryl Dalton-Cedillo Assistant to the Superintendent
Patricia Shaw District Translator
Patti Moon Interim Communications Chief

Strategic Budget Advisory Committee Meetings

The Strategic Budget Advisory Committee will meet several times in November and December.

APS Community: Provide feedback on budget recommendations at upcoming Budget Open Houses

After collecting ideas and feedback from APS staff members, the Strategic Budget Advisory Committee began informing our budget redesign. The committee considered the ideas collected from APS staff members and provided recommendations to the APS Leadership Team. Committee members included representatives from the Board of Education as well as APS staff, parents and community members.

Once the committee finalized their recommendations, we began presenting ideas to our community for feedback in a series of open houses in January:

View a Budget Redesign Open House Recording

Thursday, Jan. 19

6 p.m.

APS Professional Learning and Conference Center

15771 E. 1st Ave., Aurora, CO 80011

 

Saturday, Jan. 21

10 a.m.

Aurora Central High School

11700 E. 11th Ave., Aurora, CO 80010-3758

 

Tuesday, Jan.24

4:30 p.m.

Rangeview High School

17599 E. Iliff Ave., Aurora, CO 80013

 

Tuesday, Jan. 31

6 p.m.

Vista PEAK Exploratory School

24551 E. 1st Ave., Aurora, CO 80018

 

 

 

En español

budget scenarios stock photoAPS Community: Provide feedback on proposed budget redesign scenarios

APS is developing a 2017-18 general fund budget of approximately $319 million. The 2016-17 budget was approximately $350 million. This change will require us to reduce our budget by $31 million. We know we must make difficult choices about how to best serve our students and families with limited resources. We are asking for your input on some of these difficult choices.

For each of the scenarios below, budget measures listed in Table One are promising ideas that the APS Leadership Team plans to pursue during the strategic budget redesign. By moving forward with all of the actions in Table One, APS is estimated to reduce the district’s budget by approximately $21.8 million. Budget items in Table Two for each scenario below are proposed measures that make up a thematic approach to reducing the remainder of our budget shortfall of $9.2 million. The items in Table Two are unique to each scenario.

After reviewing the proposed scenarios below, please rate the scenarios and provide your feedback using our Budget Scenario Feedback Form. You may also build your own budget scenario to submit in the form.

After reviewing the scenarios above, please rate the budget scenarios, provide feedback on the scenarios and optionally design your own budget scenario in the form below.

Budget Scenario Feedback Form | Design Your Own Budget Form
PLEASE NOTE:The feedback forms are now closed

Related Resources
FAQ | Glossary of Budget Terms | List of Promising Budget Ideas & Costs | Strategic Budget Advisory Committee | Letter from BOE President

 

View a Budget Redesign Open House Recording

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piggy Bank Education Textbooks BudgetBudget Scenario Feedback

APS staff, students, parents and community members: Thank you for your feedback on the proposed budget scenarios.

APS leaders and the APS Board of Education will use the feedback below to inform the strategic budget redesign process. Your feedback represents what our community values as we face tough choices on how to allocate our limited resources. As Superintendent Munn shared during the budget open houses, the scenarios were meant to drive a community conversation. They were NOT designed to represent specific courses of action.

APS leaders and the APS Board of Education will consider comments collected from all scenarios. This feedback provides us information about what our community values as we redesign our budget. It does not mean that the most popular scenario will make up the exact measures that we pursue during our budget redesign. The feedback is meant to serve as a guide to our approach, not a mandate on specific budget measures. We will continue to evaluate our practices and ensure that our resources are aligned to our strategic plan including our community’s core beliefs.

APS leaders and the APS Board of Education will continue to keep the focus on how to best serve our students and families. Together, we will remain committed to our vision of helping every student shape a successful future.

Next steps:

  • Feb. 21: The APS Board of Education will provide guidance on staffing ratios for the 2017-18 school year.
  • March: State officials will provide an updated economic forecast, which will help inform our budgeting process. APS leaders will continue budgeting work to plan for the 2017-18 school year.
  • May: A final budget will be presented to the APS Board of Education.
  • June: The final budget will be adopted.

Budget-Scenario-Rankings-v3

Scenario Feedback:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

piggy_bank-budget redesignThank you to Aurora Public Schools staff, parents, students and community members who have shared their input and ideas during our budget redesign process. We would like to summarize what we have completed so far and what our next steps will be in this important process.

GATHERING FEEDBACK FROM THE COMMUNITY

We began the budget redesign process by inviting you to submit new ideas on how to better streamline our work. We then brought together diverse stakeholder voices to the table as part of a Strategic Budget Advisory Committee. Based on your combined input, we narrowed our focus and identified new ideas and practices that would better align APS’ resources to our work while also having a minimal impact on student learning.

Our process also included a thorough dialogue with community members. Through our open houses and the feedback we received online, we found several key themes that our community noted as values and priorities related to our budget:

  • Maintain opportunities for youngest learners by maintaining full-day kindergarten
  • Provide a well-balanced education including extracurricular opportunities for students
  • Have a minimal impact on school budgets and classrooms

Please note that school staffing and budget changes are being made to align with enrollment projections for the 2017-18 school year. If a school is projected to have fewer students next year, staffing in the building is being adjusted to serve the fewer number of students expected.

IMPLEMENTING BUDGET CHANGES

By utilizing this feedback as well as input from the APS Board of Education, we have been examining and challenging our past practices and looking at new and better ways of working. Some of the major areas in which we have made changes and are thinking differently include:

  • Thanks to the $300 million voter-approved bond, the Division of Support Services has some flexibility to focus work in the following areas:
    • Transfer information technology (IT) and construction staff salaries from the general fund to the bond fund
    • Redesign the capital construction projects budget where bond funds will help minimize any short-term impacts
    • Streamline extracurricular activities compensation model to minimize the impact on extracurricular offerings
    • Ensure transportation support is safe and fiscally efficient by eliminating Late Start Wednesdays, reducing reliance on outside contractors and maximizing tiered routes
  • In an effort to equalize healthcare benefits costs, APS solicited bids for a single healthcare provider under a defined (fixed) contribution model. With a shift to sole provider Kaiser Permanente and a defined contribution model, APS will save approximately $2.3 million annually.
  • The Division of Equity in Learning is restructuring its support to schools by:
    • Shifting from district-level broad support to focusing on teaching and learning in the classroom
    • Shifting from district-delivered professional learning to localized and personalized learning
    • Streamlining the division’s work to be more responsive to current and future needs of APS
  • APS is challenging staff to continue to think differently in approaching issues and finding solutions. To that end, we are engaging with dynamic national organizations to maximize our limited resources.
    • APS is partnering with a national organization, School by Design, to redesign the middle school model to better serve our students. APS is excited to have the support of a comprehensive resource design platform to facilitate this important work over the next school year.
    • APS has started its work with Communities in Schools (CIS) thanks to a generous grant from Gary Community Investments. CIS leverages community resources and partners to coordinate support for student and school needs. If the pilot is successful, APS plans to implement the program districtwide.
  • Another area of work will focus on funding for pilot and district-level innovation schools. Upon review, we learned that budget allocations were not in compliance with our pilot and district-level innovation agreements. We are now working with these schools to transition toward a more equitable funding structure. In addition, the Pilot Schools Joint Steering Committee will re-examine the funding and formula process for pilot and district-level innovation schools.
SCHOOL FINANCE AT THE STATE LEVEL

As the Colorado legislature works through its budgeting process, we are seeing some small signs of relief for school finance. The Negative Factor is still expected to greatly impact our budget. However, initial estimates put an increase of the Negative Factor at $160 million, which would have been an $8 million impact to APS. The current estimate is now an increase of approximately $48 million, which would have a $3 million impact on APS. We are also closely monitoring work on the Gallagher Amendment as well as Senate Bill 17-061, which provides additional funding to charter school operating costs.

NEXT STEPS

Our budget redesign work continues into the 2017-18 school year and beyond. We will continue to challenge past practices, evaluate promising budget ideas for future implementation and ensure that our resources are always aligned to our work.

APS presented a draft 2017-18 budget to the Board of Education in early May. The Board will then vote on the finalized budget in June.

Together, we will continue to help every APS student shape a successful future.

APS BOE Notice of Proposed School Budget 2017