Get Boardhawk in your inbox

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

DPS board focusing on everything except what matters most right now

Editor’s note: This piece was written by a community member with close ties to Denver Public Schools who asked not to be identified by name.

Monday’s meeting of the Denver Board of Education lasted for two hours, 56 minutes and 55 seconds, based on its public broadcast.

At about the 2-minute, 14-second mark, and based on a request from DPS School Board Director Carrie Olson, Board President Xóchitl Gaytán asked DPS Superintendent Alex Marrero to deviate from his prepared reports to provide an update on school safety.

Following recent violence at East High School and elsewhere, and following a possibly illegal executive session on March 23, 2023, the board charged the Superintendent with creating a new safety plan for DPS.

An update on progress seemed reasonable, more than two weeks later.

Collectively, board members and the superintendent spent 20 minutes Monday discussing school safety.

Marrero – the only person in the room with any actual information about the developing plan – spoke for a whopping four minutes and 11 seconds discussing school safety.
He shared little about the actual plan. Instead, viewers learned:

  • The process to develop the plan will not be a “community led” process. The district will rely on experts.
  • The Board should receive an appropriate update on April 26 or 27.
  • While the District appreciates numerous offers to assist, it must rely on experts.
  • The Superintendent spoke with the U.S. Secretary of Education, who is an expert!!
  • DPS is “synthesizing feedback from across our leaders.” (No specifics.)
  • While the district thanks the community for its offers to assist, this is for experts.
  • What some in community are calling “safety” is alienating other members of our community.
  • The district will host some community meetings. (No specifics.)
  • The staff is implementing the board’s charge from last month.
    • Staff does not have data about mental health supports the board requested from the city.
    • Staff started with School Resource Officers, and more schools are requesting SROs. (No specifics.)
  • The district is receiving a lot of requests for meetings that staff cannot honor.
    • The board can help by doing some of these meetings and taking notes.
  • The Superintendent will send a memo to the board explaining why DPS has had so much trouble filling its Chief of Climate and Safety position, which has been vacant for more than six months, according to the discussion.

The Superintendent and Board spent the remaining two hours, 36 minutes and 55 seconds of the meeting on a non-censure of Board Vice-President Auton’tai Anderson, revocation of the Beacon Innovation Zone (against the expressed will of its school communities) and some small, quickly dispensed technical items.

Because those issues are the biggest issues in our school system right now. Not school safety.