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DPS releases first annual “citizen’s guide” to complex district budget

Curious about how Denver’s school system budget works but don’t have time to read a 400-page budget book?

Denver Public Schools released a new booklet today called “Budget for Success” that it hopes will serve as a sort of citizen’s guide to the complexities of school finances.

Mark Ferrandino, the district’s Chief Financial Officer, said the goal of the new book was to “increase an understanding of the way we receive our money and the way we spend our money,” and to increase the district’s fiscal transparency and accountability.

Other school systems have created similar books, including Douglas County, but this is Denver’s first.

Ferrandino said the book might be especially useful in explaining DPS’s school-based budgeting, which has earned the district national attention. This year’s book also explains state oddities that affect the district’s budget, like the negative factor the legislature uses to keep school spending in check, and highlights the district’s grants from Next Gen Systems, its blended learning pilot, and its educator effectiveness grant.

Ferrandino said that the district will release a Budget for Success book each year after the budget is released in the spring. The book currently only exists in English, but future iterations will also have a Spanish version.

Board president Happy Haynes said at a meeting of the district’s board last night that the resource should help to make the complexities of the district’s budget more understandable.

Read the full “Budget for Success” booklet here.

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