I hope you are able to enjoy some time off with family and friends this summer. I am writing to provide you with an update on our budget for the coming school year.
On Tuesday night, the APS Board of Education approved our budget for the 2018-19 school year. Our 2018-19 general fund appropriation reflects an increase of $6.7 million from the 2017-18 school year to $365 million. This is mostly thanks to a favorable state legislative session that included a buy down of the negative or budget stabilization factor. In addition, district divisions reduced their budgets by 3 percent or approximately $2.7 million.
However, funding challenges continue for school districts across our state as K-12 education funding in Colorado still lags well below the national average. In addition, continued declining enrollment in APS has negatively impacted our budget and will likely continue to do so for several more years.
This year, the APS Board of Education and Leadership Team identified several key budget priorities for the upcoming school year. These priorities allow us to strategically allocate our resources to the important work we need to do to support students to shape successful futures.
As part of our human capital work, we prioritized budgeting for compensation increases for all staff. This means the following for our employee groups:
- For licensed employees, each cell of the Licensed Salary Schedule will increase by $1600 effective the start of the 2018-19 contract year. Educational Lanes will be provided to eligible employees effective the start of the 2018-19 contract year. Experience step increases will be provided to eligible licensed staff effective January 1, 2019. This step increase is not retroactive to the start of the 2018-19 school/contract year.
- Classified staff will receive a 2.93% General Salary Increase (GSI) effective July 1, 2018 through an adjustment to the Classified Staff Salary Schedule. Effective January 1, 2019, eligible Classified Staff will receive an experience step increase as outlined in policy GDBA, Classified Salary Schedule. This increase is not retroactive to the start of the 2018-19 school/contract year.
- Administrator and Professional/Technical staff will receive a 2.93% General Salary Increase (GSI) effective July 1, 2018 through an adjustment to the Administrator and Professional/Technical Salary Schedule. Effective January 1, 2019, eligible Administrator and Professional/Technical staff will receive a salary increase as outlined in policy GCBB-R, Administrator and Professional/Technical Staff Compensation. This increase is not retroactive to the start of the 2018-19 school/contract year.
To improve our teaching and learning resources, APS is adopting and implementing new curricular resources to strengthen instruction and further drive student growth and achievement. APS is implementing new curricular resources for math, literacy, world language and health instruction.
We are also investing additional resources in our equity work to engage students in ways that are relevant to their lived experiences and identify and address inequities in our teaching and learning environments. Part of this work includes creating a Central Language Services Office to better support the needs of our multilingual families. The office will support and train school staff in accessing translation and interpretation services as well as ensure greater cost efficiency by leveraging economies of scale in centrally contracting for language services.
It is also important to support the wraparound needs of our students by increasing mental health supports. Next year, we are allocating additional funds for mental health staff to support students in affective needs classrooms as well as students with mental health support identified on their Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs).
As a district, we have made noteworthy gains in student growth and achievement over the past several years. In order to maintain momentum, we are investing additional funds for teaching partners who provide instructional support and coach teachers under the direction of school principals. Teaching partners are instrumental in helping our teachers develop content knowledge and strengthen instructional skills.
Lastly, to improve services to students with diverse academic needs, we are launching APS Avenues. This will transition our existing APS Online and Rebound services to a single blended platform of services. APS Avenues will serve students who have dropped out, are at-risk of dropping out and students who will likely experience greater academic and social success in a smaller and more individualized learning environment. It will also allow students to remain enrolled at their home school and be part of that home school community if desired.
Thank you for your work in supporting our students and families. I look forward to a great 2018-19 school year.
Aurora Public Schools
“My job is to accelerate learning for every APS student, every day. I do my job by making sure we have the right people, doing the right work, with the right resources in the right way. My community needs me to do my job.”