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Denver Public Schools committee exploring possible bond, mill levy ballot initiatives

Denver Public Schools is exploring whether to ask taxpayers to approve more moolah. The district has convened a giant committee of community members (72 of them!), including some familiar DPS faces, tasked with recommending whether DPS should -- in the face of deep state funding cuts -- ask voters in November to authorize a bond issue, a mill levy override or both.

The group's official name is the Community Planning Advisory Committee, or CPAC. It's being chaired by Kendra Black, the University of Colorado at Denver's state coordinator for National History Day; Terrance Carroll, former speaker of the Colorado House; Bob Deibel, owner of furniture retailer OfficeScapes; and Lisa Flores, senior program manager at the Gates Family Foundation.

Here's how DPS illustrated the committee's process in a slide called "Three Stages of the CPAC Planning Process," which was presented at its second meeting on Feburary 29.

It's unlikely that the process will be quite as smiley, however. The committee will have to make some tough decisions about what the district needs, though DPS is making suggestions. Below, check out a slide from another presentation that explains what DPS would like to do with money raised through a mill levy override, or MLO. DPS has historically used mill levy money to pay for thing such as teachers, textbooks and technology, while bond money must be used to buy land, build new schools or renovate existing ones. Voters last approved a bond issuance in 2008. The $454 million bond was used to renovate North High and build the Evie Garrett Dennis campus in Green Valley Ranch, among other projects. (It should be noted that Dennis, the former DPS superintendent for whom the campus is named, is on the new committee.)

This time around, DPS may concentrate on expanding capacity in Stapleton, Green Valley Ranch and Lowry. According to yet another slide, those regions are expected to account for 60 percent of the district's growth over the next five years. DPS estimates its enrollment will increase from 81,441 in 2011 to 86,446 in 2016.

The 72-member committee has divided into four subcommittees: facility maintenance, technology, new schools capacity and academic programs. After two meetings of the full group, the first subcommittee -- facility maintenance -- will meet tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at South High School. The committee members will continue to meet until June, at which point the full group will make a recommendation to the school board.

See a list of committee members below.

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2012 CPAC

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