The 2021-22 school year has been a year of ongoing change and adaptation. Change to eligibility to COVID-19 vaccination, resulting in DMPS students in grades K-12 now eligible to receive vaccination against the coronavirus. Change in guidance to masking, resulting in mid-year changes. Change in the athletic future for Des Moines students, resulting in the formation of the Iowa Athletic Conference and work beginning on the new DMPS Community Stadium. Change in district leadership, resulting in the search for a new Superintendent.

Two things that have not changed: the widespread impact of the COVID-19 virus on our community and the ongoing underfunding of public education by the Iowa Legislature.

Des Moines Public Schools will again hold a budget forum online as we complete the FY 2023 budget. This process is transparent, by making the information and engagement easily accessible, and it is safe, by not having in-person gatherings. In fact, last year more people viewed our online budget presentation than attended a decade’s worth of in-person budget forums.

The financial services staff at DMPS is pleased to share the following information about the proposed FY 2023 budget and opportunities for you to share comments and questions:

A video discussion by Superintendent Tom Ahart and Chief Financial Officer Shashank Aurora about the proposed budget, highlighting some of the key issues and challenges heading towards FY 2023.

The presentation made by Superintendent Ahart and CFO Aurora can be view below or a copy can be downloaded by clicking here.

FY23 Budget Virtual Public Forum 2022.03.26

A copy of the proposed budget can be read below or can be downloaded here:  FY2023 Preliminary Budget and Financial Statements.

FY 2023 Preliminary Budget And Financial Statements


QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE PROPOSED FY 2023 BUDGET

Questions (in bold) and responses that were submitted by Monday, April 4 are posted below:

How can we reduce district monies being spent outside the classroom (like on district administrators) and re-prioritize funds to go to direct instruction/classroom teacher positions? Are all outside positions truly needed, or can we find ways to consolidate them?
This issue is carefully evaluated each year. The data shows that over the last ten years we have increased instructional staff and decreased administrative staff.  Every time a vacancy happens, we re-evaluate to ensure that we are making best use of that investment or if it can be combined with another function or eliminated.

Please do not cut the SUCCESS program it is one of the few programs that helps at risk youth in our schools. Many of those employees cover multiple other job responsibilities and overall have a significant impact on youth in the schools.
All programs in DMPS are evaluated based on the intended outcomes. This is a continual process and one in which data is used to determine cost benefit to our students, staff, and families. Programs may be implemented, altered, increased, reduced, or eliminated based on this information. We value every one of our employees and do not make these decisions lightly.

Why is Governor Reynolds wanting to give COVID public moneys to private schools for scholarships while the public schools have to cut budgets? Why isn’t that COVID money going to Iowa public schools? This makes no sense to me.
Please reach out to your local State Legislature. Unfortunately, we do not have any control over it.

You are administrative heavy. You need to cut some of the fat there. When I graduated in 1965, North High was full to the brim, but there was only 1 vp and one principal and they seem to have done it ok. Why do we need a vp for each grade level? I would cut athletic programs and combine them with near by schools or all together. Seems money that could have been used for building improvement, you have salted into that new stadium, that money could have solved some allocation perhaps. Are you going to cut teachers and programs? However this pans out, you are going to have the parents unhappy. Brace yourself for it. My opinion, Matt Smith would make one fine superintendent.
Cutting the budget each year is painful. The conditions, expectations and requirements in 2022 are dramatically different from 1965. We are actively exploring combining more programs among our comprehensive high schools. Quite a few programs are already shared between schools. We are not cutting programs. We are reducing a limited number of teachers but only in proportion to lost enrollment. 

The idea that 9m in budget cuts “wont affect kids” is absolutely absurd! Our schools need more funding; not a reduction!
To maintain a balanced budget – as required by law – and to stay within spending authority restrictions, the district identified $9.4 million in needed reductions to the General Fund. Iowa uses a school finance formula that sets the maximum amount a district is authorized to spend and certify on a budget for a fiscal year. Under the spending authority control, it is illegal for a school district to exceed its maximum authorized budget. It is important to understand that the limit on spending is the amount of spending authority a district has, not the amount of cash or fund balance a district has. The $9.4 million is comprised of new revenue increases, expenditure reductions, and repurposing expenditures to other appropriate funds:  

  • A new one-time revenue is from the sale of the Grand building ($2.5M) 
  • The introduction of the new break/fix program is an annual savings of $3.0M to the General Fund.  
  • The district will move $1.5 M of eligible expenses to non-General Fund funds, including SAVE, PPEL, and Food & Nutrition. 
  • The district budgeted for 2.0% SSA; with the final SSA coming in at 2.5%, that is an increase of $0.5M. 
  • The district will not hold the culture and climate summit this summer, which is a savings of $0.9M 
  • Finally, due to declines in enrollment experienced over the past several years, the district will reduce 12 FTE classroom positions, while maintaining student/staff ratios across the district and taking student needs into account. The reduction in positions equates to $1.0M. Where possible, the teachers impacted by the eliminated positions will be moved into positions vacated due to attrition.  

How can the school district justify a $25 Million dollar soccer stadium for a private school with a pending lawsuit and such a high level of opposition be a priority when we are having to cut $9Million from the budget. This is completely irresponsible and possibly illegal with the misuse of Covid funding and denying a public vote. Please stop allowing politics and Money to degrade and reduce our school system and focus on ending common core, bringing back phonics and actually training our children (our future) to be globally competitive.
To maintain a balanced budget – as required by law – and to stay within spending authority restrictions, the district identified $9.4 million in needed reductions to the General Fund. Iowa uses a school finance formula that sets the maximum amount a district is authorized to spend and certify on a budget for a fiscal year. Under the spending authority control, it is illegal for a school district to exceed its maximum authorized budget. It is important to understand that the limit on spending is the amount of spending authority a district has, not the amount of cash or fund balance a district has. The $9.4 million is comprised of new revenue increases, expenditure reductions, and repurposing expenditures to other appropriate funds.:

  • A new one-time revenue is from the sale of the Grand building ($2.5M) 
  • The introduction of the new break/fix program is an annual savings of $3.0M to the General Fund.  
  • The district will move $1.5 M of eligible expenses to non-General Fund funds, including SAVE, PPEL, and Food & Nutrition. 
  • The district budgeted for 2.0% SSA; with the final SSA coming in at 2.5%, that is an increase of $0.5M. 
  • The district will not hold the culture and climate summit this summer, which is a savings of $0.9M 
  • Finally, due to declines in enrollment experienced over the past several years, the district will reduce 12 FTE classroom positions, while maintaining student/staff ratios across the district and taking student needs into account. The reduction in positions equates to $1.0M. Where possible, the teachers impacted by the eliminated positions will be moved into positions vacated due to attrition.  

The classroom reductions for 2022-23 are being driven by the decrease in enrollment. The district continues to work diligently to find savings that will have the least impact on students and staff, by focusing on changes that can be made outside of the classroom. Of the $9.4M identified for reductions, only $1.0M is a staff reduction and is due to decreased enrollment. This task is getting harder, given the continuing underfunding of public schools by the State.  

DMPS has spent hundreds of millions of dollars during the past two decades to make improvements and renovations to every single school building in the district. In fact, since DMPS began receiving sales tax revenue for school infrastructure in July 2000, $631.3 million has been spent to improve school buildings and facilities throughout the district. $0 in sales tax revenue has been spent to improve existing stadiums or build new stadiums during that same time. Under the district’s previous 5-year plan, which ran through 2020, 97% of all sales tax revenue were be directed to schools and classrooms, this amounted to $109 M. In the district’s next 5-year plan, which covers 2021-25, another $82.2 million will be spent on school improvements. 

School districts have restricted funding sources. Money received must be accounted for in a fund type and account, based on the source of the funds and the purpose for the funds. As the graphic below shows, these restrictions are quite complicated. Tax ChartThe funds to pay for the Community Stadium are from the SAVE fund, which is funded through a statewide sales tax. Sales tax revenue is used for the construction and renovation of school buildings and facilities. By law SAVE funds cannot be used to hire more teachers or other school and district staff.  The bids for the Community Stadium were approximately $1 million more than budgeted due to increasing construction costs associated with the global Covid-19 pandemic. The district has indicated that this difference could be offset with SAVE funding previously allocated for planned HVAC projects that are now being funded using ESSER funds. ESSER funding is restricted in how, and when, it may be used. The use of ESSER funds in lieu of SAVE for HVAC improvements is allowable by federal law and was approved by the state.  No General Fund dollars will be spent on the stadium. 

Interesting position DMPS is in. The stadium has a very bad look when having to make $9.4 million in cuts when $1 million of ESSER funds were used instead of SAVE dollars for HVAC work. That $1 million, that at the end of day, is being used to pay the extra $1 million needed for the stadium is just plain wrong. Those ESSER funds could and should have been used for helping with the $9.4 million shortfall. Now it has also come out that the stadium is now going to cost $25 million or more when all is done. Here’s an idea: stop the stadium project and get the $1 million back. The $1 million of ESSER is still mentioned on the DMPS website as being a part of how it was able to go over budget.
The bids for the Community Stadium were approximately $1 million more than budgeted due to increasing construction costs associated with the global Covid-19 pandemic. The district has indicated that this difference could be offset with SAVE funding previously allocated for planned HVAC projects that are now being funded using ESSER funds. ESSER funding is restricted in how, and when, it may be used. The use of ESSER funds in lieu of SAVE for HVAC improvements is allowable. ESSER funds may not be used to help with the funding of projects such as the Community Stadium or to impact identified budget reductions.  The construction of the Community Stadium will require more than a year to complete, during which time the district will be continuing to identify potential alternate funding sources to help reduce, or eliminate, the need for additional SAVE funding to help complete the Community Stadium project. Alternate funding may come from sources such as partner organizations, funds secured through various grant opportunities, or donations. 

The total cost to provide DMPS high schools with stadiums that have comparable features to the community stadium to be constructed at Drake University would total more than $60 million. The district will continue to make investments in existing athletic facilities. However, these investments will be targeted to best meet the needs of specific school communities and to expand access to a larger number of students. Additional information about how the Community Stadium is being funded as well as the DMPS Athletics Facility Advisory Committee, their findings, and recommendations for utilization of district funds for the increasing access to athletics and activities can be stadium.dmschools.org.

With 50 staff resignations are they going to be replaced or just cut because of the $9.4 million loss?
Most staff resignations are filled unless a building or department determines it is no longer needed or they restructure positions in their department.  This year’s resignations are not included in the $9.4 million loss. 

Looking over the current budget, where is the golden parachute for Ayres (sic) shown?
The expense is included as part of the school district’s salaries. 

I saw reference to separate athletic proposal that will also be considered in the budget. I would like more information on this. The district has already eliminated middle school swimming during it’s last budget revamp and this past year, many middle school sports were restricted to 8th grade only (e.g., basketball). One way to keep students engaged in academics is through their athletic opportunities. Athletics teaches children how to increase frustration tolerance, see that hard work pays off, and children that are kept engaged are less likely to have time to make poor choices. What additional cuts are going to be made regarding athletics and maintenance of facilities we currently have (e.g., natatoriums, pools, baseball fields, etc.)? I also have a concern with how special education is run within the district. There are several students who had IEPs for behavioral issues who, once they move on from elementary school, lose their para’s and aids. I see severe underfunding of special education across the district. I understand that there is a history between DMPS and Heartland AEA and DMPS handles things in house. The problem is that the district doesn’t have the capacity to do it in house any longer. These resources need to be strengthened. Burn out in special education is very real and teachers, students, and staff need support. How will the budget reflect changes to ensure ALL necessary supports needed under FAPE are met for students with IEPs? I would like to see data presented that supports moving teachers into coaching positions has worked to alleviate the challenges that the coaches are support to address. I appreciate career advancement opportunities coaching provides but I want to know how these positions address issues within the schools, increase teacher retention, and enhance student learning. Additionally, we appear to have evidence of a glass elevator in that there are a number of men administrative positions – does admin reflect the proportion of men/women teachers in the district? What changes will be made in any potential administrative blight to address the budget cuts needed?
The district has no plans to make cuts to the current offerings for extra-curricular activities for FY23. Current and future programming will continue to be evaluated with schools, in combination with the 2021 Findings and Recommendations Report. The 2021 Findings Report was produced by the Athletic Facilities Committee, which was established by the Board to support future activity and athletic decision making.  The district is continually evaluating how best to deliver extracurricular services to its students. At the present time, there are no scheduled cuts to district athletic facilities, nor to ongoing facility maintenance activities. 

Once an IEP team determines that a student requires associate/para support, that support stays until an IEP team determines the student no longer needs this support. The IEP team includes both special and general education staff and the parents. These decisions are based on individual student data, they are not made based on money. In fact, money cannot be a reason that a service is not provided if it has been determined by a team to be needed for a student to access FAPE. Funds are allocated directly from the State and from the AEA to provide support and services to students with disabilities, but often are not enough. In those cases, the District can overspend to guarantee that a free appropriate public education is provided to students with disabilities. The District has a strong collaborative partnership with Heartland AEA and will continue to collaborate with them to provide high quality support and services to our students, families, and staff. 

The instructional coach program is verified and validated as a best practice to improve student outcomes. The instructional coach program is funded by the Teacher Leadership and Compensation Grant as a part of our overall state aid. The TLC funding is restricted, categorical funding and can only be used for expenses that fall within the parameters prescribed to the district. The district worked with teachers, principals, and parents to develop a TLC program to best meet the needs of students and staff.  

The Effect of Teacher Coaching on Instruction and Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of the Causal Evidence found that instructional coaching had a greater impact on instruction than almost all other school-based interventions including student incentives, teacher pre-service training, merit-based pay, general professional development, data-driven instruction, and extended learning time. 

District data indicates that 39% of administrators are male and 61% of administrators are female. The district has reduced 2 central office administrative positions for the FY23 school year. 

How much funding will be used to address our literacy crisis? Nearly 70% of Black boys cannot read in third grade. What funding are you allocating to solve this problem? We have adapted structured literacy on paper; however, it is used without fidelity in DMPS schools. We have no reading coaches in any buildings. Our FAST scores measure how fast a student reads, not how accurate they read. We have no dyslexia specialist or expert in the district, even though approximately 7,000 DMPS students have diagnosed or undiagnosed dyslexia. We have Windows technology for students which is not compatible with many accommodations for students who can’t read at grade level and need text-to-audio accommodations. We have no one from the entire district enrolled in the Iowa Reading Research Center’s dyslexia specialist endorsement program. We have no quality decodable books (like Whole Phonics) purchased and provided in our lower-elementary classrooms. And finally, we have no universal screening for dyslexia. We know 1 in 5 kids will be diagnosed with dyslexia, and we know early intervention is key for teaching those children how to read. If we, indeed, want to improve literacy rates, we need universal screening for all students in grades K-2 so we can identify and support these young readers as they are explicitly taught by highly trained teachers and instructors. Is this allocated in the budget?
All K-5 Elementary Buildings will have a dedicated Reading Coach for the 22-23 school year. These coaches will have 80+ hours of training on the science of reading over the next two school years. FAST Curriculum-Based Measure (CBM) measures both rate and accuracy. We don’t have a Dyslexia Specialist currently. We do have staff with expertise in teaching reading. The Dyslexia House File requires each AEA to have a Dyslexia Specialist. Heartland AEA has someone enrolled in the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement and DMPS has two staff members enrolled and receiving expert training with Iowa Reading Research and Iowa State. Our FASTBridge Early Reading and Curriculum-Based Measure (CBM) screeners are our universal screeners. Students not meeting the reading readiness benchmark may have additional diagnostic screeners to plan for early intervention.  While Some states have approved FASTbBridge as a Dyslexia Screener, Iowa has not. All K-2 classrooms have sets of decodable readers that go with their Foundational Block Curriculum. We print classroom sets each year so all students have their own text to engage with and take home to practice the skills connected to the lesson.  

 Would moving to a 4 day school week cut costs?
There could potentially be some savings in a 4-day school week, particularly regarding expenses related to transportation, utilities, etc. However, there are other factors to consider, such the financial burden on families for childcare as well as the fact that many students rely on the school for breakfast and lunch during the school week.   

I am a DMPS school social worker (middle school), parent of DMPS students, and Des Moines resident. If you want to save money, please consider the number of specialists, coordinators, facilitators, leads, directors (etc) that DMPS employs. When I started at DMPS in 2010, the majority of these positions did not exist. Frankly, they aren’t helpful. Staff who actually do work with students, teachers, and families are only confused & frustrated by the contradictory information we receive. It sucks to work in an environment where the acceptable culture is to point out colleagues, as to “blame”. 
We review our staffing allocations both at the district and building level including non-instructional positions as they relate to our Board Goal Strategic Plan while analyzing their impact on student outcomes.  

A couple of comments: 1. Please bring back the Citizens and Employees Budget Advisory Committees. 2. Please put additional resources toward directly serving the 33000 students of DMPS. We keep adding positions but as one of your district teachers, I don’t see the additional help reaching our students. The focus is too much on data collection, completing reports, and learning new delivery models instead of getting on the bus, sitting in the desk next to students in the classroom, jumping into recess, and supporting the student in the library reading a book. Resources are not making it help students directly. 3. Please empower your principals to lead.—So many staff in our buildings aren’t actually being directed by building principals because of the layers of central office specialists, managers, and directors who are in charge of these non teaching positions. This has caused a lack of cohesion, lack of purpose, and a lack of focus on the students in our buildings. Elimination of this “mid management” would save you money and bring this staff closer to a supervisor–a principal they see every day. A principal who knows what the building needs to achieve the district goals and can align these supports. This alignment is not happening now.  

Thank you for your comment regarding the budget advisory committees. We will evaluate and take appropriate action. We review our staffing allocations both at the district and building level including non-instructional positions as they relate to our Board Goal Strategic Plan while analyzing their impact on student outcomes.   

I am a Des Moines resident, parent of 3-DMPS students (one graduated), and School Social Worker employed by DMPS since 2010. I am questioning the need for the two additional Associate Principal positions that have previously not existed: AP at MAC/All Points Academy and AP at FOCUS. These are alternative school programs for special education students. Why are we hiring more administrators?
With the restructuring of specialized programming, it required administrative support and supervision for some of our most at-risk students.  These positions are not funded out of regular program dollars.  There are specific budget parameters when developing budgets and positions for other programming.  These departments take all of this into consideration as they determine how to meet requirements and provide the best support to staff and students. 

Hi there, thanks for providing this! Are you able to share the fiscal year budget actuals for Roosevelt and also Central Academy for each of the past five fiscal years? Just looking for end of year totals (ideally with total revenue and total expenses) for each of the past five years to see trends. Thank you for any assistance!
We do not provide this level of detail as part of overall district budget discussions. While expenses are accounted for by location, revenue is not. Historically, we as a district have not prepared financials at a school building level. However, we are happy to discuss it offline along with your principal. 

My comments are not unique, nor should it be a surprise. However, they should still be mentioned. I read the budget. As a staff member, parent, and community member, it is important for me to make sure Des Moines is being a good steward of the funds we are allocated. I was SHOCKED to read that we will have 39 district administration and 63 building administrators. I am perfectly fine with us having administrators in building, it is needed, and they do outstanding work. I am seriously concerned on why we need 39 district administration? The 39 district administrators reflect multiple departments throughout the organization. It is these individuals that supervise the department or programming. This includes business and finance, human resources, curriculum, facilities, operations, food service, transportation, public relations, assessment, student services, technology, and other. District administration has decreased over the past several years. Two more district administrative positions were reduced this school year.  More so that it will cost us 28 million for our building admin and a SHOCKING 27 million for district admin. What does that tell you? That these 39 people are as valuable as 63 building admin. This is insane. We are cutting teachers and building staff year after year, yet Des Moines has the audacity to spend this much on admin that are NEVER in buildings, NEVER interact with students, and have little to no impact on real education gains. How can the board, in good faith, continue to support cuts at the building while funding this every year?

Additionally, there are building-based administrators, and the district staffs each school with a building administrator: 38 elementary principals, 10 middle school principals, 7 high school principals, and 1 virtual campus administrator. The categories (and category names) used to classify school revenue and expenditures are prescribed by the Iowa Department of Education and are uniform across all public schools in Iowa. Within this classification system, “Administration” is not what is typically defined as an Administrator.

Within “Building Administration” approximately 99% of the total of expenses are for salary/benefits for approximately 250 FTE. Positions in this category include Principal and Associate Principal(s) at all schools; the Activity Director, Registrar, Bookkeeper, Secretary, and Clerical staff at the high schools; and Office manager and clerks at middle and elementary schools.

“Business & Central Administration” includes Finance, HR, Technology, Risk Management/Benefits, and Assessment. A sizable portion (approximately 50%) of the $27M within the “Business & Central Administration” is related to connectivity services largely for students (but also DMPS staff, including teachers). These expenses include laptops/computer, repairs to devices, internet connectivity, and hot spots. The connectivity expenses are accounted for within “Business & Central Administration” as Purchased Services & Equipment.

Within “Business & Central Administration” approximately 47% of the total of expenses are for salary/benefits for approximately 115 FTE. Positions in this category include department Administrators, Specialists, Paraprofessionals, Clerical Staff, and other support roles.

Can you explain the solvency ratios and unspent spending ratios in further detail? I am not quite clear on what these are. Are you familiar with the criteria our Governor and our legislatures use to determine SSA? Perhaps this is a legislature question. Has there been any discussion on how to increase our miscellaneous income? . When the district requests additional spending authority via the SBRC, if granted this is money the the district currently has, is sitting on, and cannot spend without permission? How much money is currently in this pot? How does this pot of money grow? What are categoricals?Can you explain more about SAVE/PPEL and what this silo of money is and can be used for? Where can one find information how exactly how all of our ESSER funds have been used, how these funds will be used in the future, and what (if any) will be leftover? Where can one find information submitted to the DOE regarding the ARP ESSER dollars? What was proposed to the state? What was approved? What was denied and why? Did DMPS apply for a GEER II grant to improve mental health supports in our building? If yes, why were we denied? If no, why didn’t we apply for this grant? If denied, can we reapply? Why are special education and ELL not addressed in this budget discussion? Where can one find budget information on special education and it’s SPECIFIC uses? Is a portion of the general fund paying ANY special education directors?

The district’s solvency ratio is a moment-in-time (June 30) measurement of the district’s General Fund financial health. The solvency ratio is measure of the district’s fund equity position and is defined as the unreserved, undesignated fund balance (commonly referred to as the cash reserves) divided by the district’s total General Fund revenues, less AEA flow-through.

Iowa uses a school finance formula that sets the maximum amount a district is authorized to spend and certify on a budget for a fiscal year. A district’s spending authority is the sum of the district’s combined cost and miscellaneous income for the budget year plus the unspent balance from the previous year. Under the spending authority control, it is illegal for a school district to exceed its maximum authorized budget. It is important to understand that the limit on spending is the amount of spending authority a district has, not the amount of cash or fund balance a district has.

The unspent spending authority ratio is a measure of the district’s unbudgeted authorized spending capacity (not cash reserves) and is defined as the district’s unspent spending authority divided by the district’s maximum budget authority.

The criteria used by the legislature to determine SSA is a question for the legislature.

One way to increase miscellaneous income it to pursue grant opportunities that are a good fit for the district. We continue to evaluate the various grants we are eligible for. Another source is interest income on our cash balances. With the interest rates at historical lows, this has negatively impacted our miscellaneous income

Generally, when the district makes a request to the SBRC for additional spending authority, it does not come with additional funds. These are against expenses already incurred. Having a positive cash balance helps enable the district to incur these expenses. For example, the district can request additional spending authority for district funds used for asbestos abatement that are paid for with general fund dollars.

Categorical funds are those state funds that give to districts that can only be used for certain expenses. For example, TLC funds and GT funds are categorical funds. In the current year, 23% of the state funds received by the district that are accounted for in the general fund are categorical funds.

The district’s SAVE fund accounts for monies received from a statewide sales tax for school infrastructure. In 2021, voters approved a Revenue Purpose Statement to enable the district to use its portion of a statewide one cent sales tax for school renovation. As outlined in the Revenue Purpose Statement, SAVE projects focus on:

  • Property tax relief
  • Information technology and school safety / security infrastructure
  • School building construction, including new build, additions, remodel, reconstruct, repair, expansion, and improvement; purchasing and improving grounds; demolition work; and furnishing and equipping district facilities.
  • Equipment, technology, transportation equipment repairs, energy conservation measures, sharing or rental of facilities to offer, procure libraries, or opening roads to schoolhouses or buildings.
  • Purchasing land and construction materials and supplies.
  • Make payments to a municipality or other entity.
  • Costs incurred by a disaster.
  • Emergency repairs.
  • Public recreation places and playgrounds.
  • Payment of principal and interest for bonds and loans.
  • Changing program needs.
  • The complete language of the revenue purpose statement can be found at https://www.dmschools.org/revenue-purpose-statement-2021/revenue-purpose-statement-ballot-language/

PPEL accounts for transactions related to the improvement of facilities and grounds, construction of schools, certain equipment expenditures, and other authorized expenditures. Revenue is primarily generated from voter- and Board-approved property tax levies. The voter portion of the PPEL levy was raised to the max of $1.34 for ten years in September 2019 and went into effect with the FY 22 budget. This however, did not increase the property tax rate as this was offset by reductions in other areas.

The district has identified more ways to use the funds than there are funds available. There will be no left-over funds. Additional information on use of ESSER funds can be found on the SEAC presentations. The presentations from the two SEAC meetings on this issue can be found at https://www.dmschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/ESSER-Overview.pdf. View video of a presentation, here.

The state only requires pre-approval for ESSER expenses for capital expenses greater than $5,000. To date, none of these pre-approval requests have been denied by the DE. Discussions with the state are ongoing for ESSER expenses regarding summer expenses being allocated to the 20% learning loss bucket.

The GEER II state grant was for districts to apply to implement Youth Mental Health First Aid; a program which DMPS has been implementing since 2014 and already has multiple YMHFA trainers within the district.

No reductions are being proposed to the special education or ELL budget. Special education and ELL budgets are largely controlled by the State and Federal Code and Administrative Rules. These funds are required to be used for providing a free appropriate public education for students identified as needing special education services or ELL services depending on the category. These services include instructional, support and related services and the oversight of these services.

Special education budget information is included in the District Budget Book published annually at https://www.dmschools.org/departments/business-finance/budget/

The general fund does not pay any part of any special education director’s salary.

There are a lot of positions in HR and activities that don’t seem necessary. I’ve only heard about HR, but the list of people in that department seems incredibly high from the district information. They do not work with kids. The activities budget for middle school really seems like overkill for what we get. I’ve lost track of how many people are working under Jason Allen. As a coach, no one seems to know what all those people are doing. My recommendation is to have the middle school SECs each have 2 schools they oversee. Make it make sense. Merrill and Callanan. Brody and Weeks. As much as possible, line up with the high school. Eliminate the “district middle school activities coordinator.” That position and his assistant(s?) seems wasteful. As someone who has coached for years, I see very little need for that position if we have SECs. The contests among middle schools are the same pretty much every year and season. Set a normal schedule and let it run year-to-year alternating home events. Central district activities personnel scheduling things for middle school is not necessary. Let the SEC of each 2 middle schools coordinate the busing and run meetings before each season for their coaches.

The Human Resources department has made reductions over the years as a part of the budget process. In comparison to other comparative districts, the department’s staffing is at a lower staffing level. The district continues to look at adjustments or reductions that are not at the expense of efficiency and support for staff and leaders. Helping leaders capture the highest quality candidates and keeping them engaged in the work directly impacts the learning environment for students. Thank you for your comment regarding middle school activities. We will evaluate and take appropriate action.