Aurora Voters Approve $35 Million Mill Levy Override
In November 2018, Aurora voters passed Aurora Public Schools' $35 million mill levy override. We are thankful for our community's continued support in helping every APS student shape a successful future. The district is utilizing mill levy funds to support student health, safety and learning in the following key areas:
Expanding staff and training dedicated to student mental health
Mental Health & Counseling Expansion
In APS, safety is our top priority. This includes ensuring the social, emotional and behavioral needs of all students. Thanks to Aurora Voters who helped pass the 2018 mill levy override, APS is expanding our mental health and counseling team! This expansion supports the APS CARES framework, our comprehensive approach to health and safety that ensures students feel safe in their learning environments.
APS welcomed more than 100 additional professionals to our Mental Health and Counseling team. They have made quantifiable advancements in helping our students improve their mental health and increase their resiliency.
We are continuing to hire for school counselors, school social workers and school psychologists. Hopeful candidates are encouraged to apply at hr.aurorak12.org.
Adding lap seat belts to school buses
Seat Belts on School Buses
In alignment with our APS CARES framework and the mill levy’s focus on student health and safety, we are utilizing mill levy program funding to add school bus seat belts. During the 2019-20 school year, all newly-purchased school buses came equipped with lap-shoulder seat belts. Over the next 10 years, APS will phase out our older bus fleet and ensure that all new district buses have these seat belts.
Lap-shoulder seat belts are not only designed to keep children safer, but they have the added day-to-day benefits of improving behavior, reducing bullying and minimizing driver distraction.
Expanding after-school programs for students in grades K-5
After-School Programming Expansion
APS is expanding after-school programs for K-5 students in alignment with our APS CARES framework. Our primary goal is to increase access to physically- and emotionally-safe spaces to continue students’ growth outside of the classroom.
Our short-term strategy was informed by an advisory group comprised of APS staff, parents, program providers and community members. They partnered with the American Institutes for Research, a national expert in after-school and youth development.
During the 2018-19 school year, approximately 1,200 APS students enrolled in after-school programs in 28 out of 34 of the district’s elementary and K-8 schools. In the 2019-20 school year, approximately 3,300 students were enrolled in 33 of our schools! APS will continue to expand after-school programs.
Increasing pay to recruit and retain high-quality teachers
Recruit and Retain High-Quality Teachers
Recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers is key to the APS CARES framework. Teachers engage students in positive learning experiences every day. This helps them build life-changing relationships with students and their families. In order to bring and keep the best teachers here in our community, we need to invest in our staff.
Thanks to mill levy funds, APS staff received a salary increase in January 2019. A portion of mill dollars are reserved for restructuring the district’s teacher pay scale. More details on this work will be shared in the coming months.