Budget Clarifications

Budget Clarifications
February 4, 2016 GWHS

Dear GW Community ‚Ä”

Yesterday, we sent out a letter about the budget process at GW and promised continued communication. Based on your feedback, we realize that a few clarifications are necessary and we would like to address these points now.

School budgets are based on projected enrollment. Historical data is used to determine forecasts for future enrollment. In a student-based budgeting system, the expectation is that budgets change relative to student enrollment. When we said that we were surprised at our budget reduction, our intent was to convey that we were disappointed to see that our projected enrollment had gone down for the upcoming school year.

We believe there has been a renewed interest in our school, and we expect a large freshmen class this fall. We doubled the number of 8th-grade students who shadowed at our school to nearly 300 students. We have attended more than 20 recruitment events to promote the good work happening at George. We have also witnessed an incredible resurgence of parent and community members who are committed to bringing in new students. However, we understand that forecasting algorithms cannot take these intangibles into account when making calculations about the future. To that end, if our enrollment changes next year, we must adjust our staff to support the number of students enrolled.

We mentioned in our last communication that we have reached out to the school system and asked for additional resources, but that the decisions are still pending. More specifically, we have requested what is called budget assistance. Budget assistance is given for a number of reasons. These include helping schools who serve students with very high mental health and special education needs, assisting small schools to adequately staff their classrooms, and providing additional funding to schools that need a higher level of administrative support. Unfortunately, given the state of education funding at large, the money that Denver Public Schools has available as budget assistance is finite. We understand and appreciate that these decisions are difficult and trust the district to provide support where it is needed.

Finally, we want to emphasize the overwhelming support the district is providing in this process. Senior-level budget analysts and network partners Mark Ferrandino, Erik Johnson and Andrew Hammond are helping us work through possible solutions and have explained the budgeting process in-depth to our Collaborative School Committee. Our Instructional Superintendents Scott Mendelsberg and Sean Precious have been collaborating with us as we consider every aspect of our school and our classrooms. We have extraordinary faith that GW will be given every consideration as we finalize the budget for next year.

We appreciate your continued feedback and support as we navigate this process. We are dedicated to being transparent and will continue to update our GW family.

Sincerely,

José Martinez | Interim Principal
Scott Lessard | Succession Principal