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Proposed DPS Budget Comes With Staff Cuts To Special Education

By Jamie Leary

DENVER (CBS4) - The Denver Public School District will likely cut as many as 50 positions from its central office in order to accommodate the proposed 2018/2019 budget.

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(credit: CBS)

There is a slight increase in funding expected, but Superintendent Tom Boasberg says the district is facing rising costs.

"With the decline of birth rates in Denver and with gentrification over the next five years, we will lose students," said Boasberg.

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(credit: CBS)

Fewer students means less federal funding; DPS informed affected staff just last week ahead of hiring season so they could apply for other positions within DPS.

About 30 of the 50 staff reductions will occur in the centrally-funded special education department which serves students with disabilities. A major concern for parents like Nelson Boyle.

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Nelson Boyle (credit: CBS)

"Cutting funding from special education that's earmarked for that and releasing it to schools to spend as they need is really going to harm a lot of students with special needs," Boyle said.

Boyle's daughter was diagnosed with autism six years ago. It took him until recently to get her an individualized learning plan that worked. He worries that cuts at the district level will result in cuts to her resources.

"If kids aren't getting enough resources for special education, then in the long run, they're not going to be in the workforce having the skills that they need to support themselves in the future," he said.

Boasberg says the cuts at the district level will actually allow for more special education resources at the classroom level.

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CBS4's Jamie Leary interviews DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg. (credit: CBS)

"In order to put more resources in our schools to support our special needs students we've had to cut some positions at the district level" Boasberg said. "We're providing more special education teachers in our schools. We're providing a greater number of counselors and psychologists and social workers who play a really important role."

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Boasberg says the budget changes are aimed at helping students and putting more resources in the hands of the schools.

Some schools could see between $80 and $100 extra for students with certain needs. Those include homeless students, those living in foster care and undocumented students.

Teachers will also a salary increase of five percent, the largest increase teachers have seen in 10 years.

The budget will be finalized in April.

Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn't imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.

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