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Our Word is Our Bond, Fourth Edition | Fall 2023

"The falling leaf that tells of autumn's death is, in a subtler sense, a prophecy of spring." -- Robert Green Ingersoll

What's New in Bond This Fall?

As the leaves fall this season they remind us that everything in life has a cycle. As they change colors and eventually fall to ground, we prepare for a long winter that eventually leads us into spring.

Our 2020 bond cycle is a perfect example of this phenomenon. When we have projects under construction we are in the midst of "winter" and eventually our new schools, playgrounds, cafeterias, and gymnasiums bloom when their "spring" time arrives.

Below you will find a recap of what we have been getting up to over the last few months. The places we've visited and the people we've met have all reminded us that we are part of a district that truly prioritizes the student, adult and system experience -- as outlined in our DPS strategic roadmap.

Our commitment to educational equity drives us forward, and the changes implemented as part of the 2020 bond are evidence of an ever-burgeoning fruitful future.

Our Word is Our Bond

Our Word is Our Bond is an informational resource delivered to our DPS stakeholders, both internal and external, highlighting the efforts of our district to uphold the promises made during the most recent and relevant bond cycle(s).

In this newsletter, you can expect status updates on our current bond construction projects and information on Mill Levy overrides and the ways in which they have benefitted our district. This newsletter will also share details on our Bond Oversight Committee and how its members work to serve our district.

Equitable Contracting in Bond

We know how the bond helps serve students, families and staff at Denver Public Schools, but have you ever wondered how it serves the Denver community? Our Office of Business Diversity plays a crucial role in providing job opportunities.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Martinez Fire Spotlight

September was Hispanic Heritage Month, and in observance we celebrated a longstanding DPS partnership with contractor Johnny Martinez of Martinez Fire Protection.

Martinez Fire Protection, founded by John "Johnny" Martinez, has been a staple in the Denver community for over a decade. Since 2006 his highly skilled team has provided life safety services for DPS' many bond projects.

John Martinez and his team are currently outfitting the new Montbello High School building with updated fire safety equipment, ensuring the safety of our staff and students. Watch our special spotlight video to learn more!

The 9th Annual Reverse Trade Fair

With an emphasis on equity, a core value of DPS, the Office of Business Diversity aims to support Minority and Women Owned Businesses Enterprises (MWBEs) and has pledged to spend 24% of the 2020 bond spend on contracts with MWBEs. They are on track to exceed this goal.

The annual Reverse Trade Fair helps elevate small businesses and MWBEs and provides them with the opportunity to get involved with our current bond projects and projects that are to come.

Check out our special recap video from this year’s event to learn more.

Montbello High School Construction Update: October 2023

Reimagine Montbello began to take shape in the Fall of 2020. Reimagine Montbello was the moniker given to describe the tremendous project at hand, the redesign and subsequent re-opening of Montbello as a comprehensive High School in the Far Northeast of Denver.

The 139.5 million dollar bond construction project, under the purview of contractors Adolfson & Peterson Construction and architects EUA and Eidos, is making steady progress.

Phase one of construction began in June of 2022.

As construction continues, anticipation grows among the Montbello community! The walls of the new high school building are up and what was once only an idea is starting to take shape into reality. Take a look at the construction progress we made over the summer in this exclusive video report.

School Determined Fund Projects

School Determined Fund (SDF) projects are made possible by Denver voters. SDFs account for a special series of school improvement initiatives that are set forth and self-determined by the schools that are being served.

When the 795 million dollar bond passed in 2020, the SDF program received 32 million dollars to be spent directly toward these improvements, spanning 133 schools across the district.

DCIS at Baker | New Library

We took a trip to Denver Center for International Studies at Baker to visit their newly improved library! The library is outfitted with brand new contemporary furniture, bright lighting and modern technology to support every learner’s needs.

Ashley Elementary | New Cafeteria

Ashley Elementary School’s new cafeteria is bright, has an eye-catching design, is comfortable and most importantly; it helps create a warm and welcoming environment for students.

"What I would like to say to the voters is thank you, because as a DPS alum and as a student who attended Title 1 schools, these types of bond measures really do impact student outcomes," said Principal Janet Estrada.


What is "Bond and Mill Levy" Anyway?

Both a bond and a mill levy are types of funding drawn from property taxes to support public projects and services. A bond is a one-time capital investment in schools and classrooms. For example, bond funds may help renovate older schools to update them for 21st-century learning, build brand-new school buildings and buy additional educational technology. A bond can invest in building upgrades such as critical maintenance, sustainability or air conditioning.

A mill levy funds ongoing operational needs such as teacher salaries, software, school nurses and social-emotional supports. While a bond funds the physical building of schools and classrooms, the mill levy funds bring the classroom to life. For more information on funding please review our school funding 101 resources.

Everyone Has a Voice at DPS

The details surrounding bond and mill levy can often be confusing, and we hope to rectify that -- in part -- with the development and distribution of this newsletter. Transparency is our goal and we are working hard to make sure the Denver community knows that the promises we made are promises we have kept.

All of our stakeholders have an important role in advocating for the improvements we make in our school district and the lives we are able to change in doing so. We hope this newsletter will illuminate that and will be both a call to action and a word of encouragement.

Thank you,

Giorgia Alexander

Bond and Mill Levy Communications Specialist for DPS

Questions or comments? Contact:


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