DENVER — Denver Public Schools announced dozens of layoffs at its central office Wednesday as it looks to cut budgets amid a decline in student enrollment.
Superintendent Alex Marrero announced plans to reorganize the district earlier this year as enrollment projections show a 6 percent decline by 2025.
In an email to district staff, Marrero said positions were eliminated to “make our central support team more efficient,” but that no “direct to student” positions — such as teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, food services, or facilities management — were included in the cuts. Instead, 76 roles with the central support team, including 15 executive-level positions, were eliminated.
“We recognize, appreciate, and are thankful for their hard work, passion, and effort,” Marrero said of the employees in the staff email. “Navigating change can evoke a range of emotions. Recognizing that we will continue to be in a state of transition in the weeks that follow, we also know that worry, guilt and anxiety may still be part of our workplace after this recent loss of coworkers. We will continue to support each other.”
It is unclear what specific roles from the central support team were eliminated. The team includes the Department of Technology Services, English Language Acquisition, Culturally Responsive Education, and Human Resources, according to the district’s website.
The eliminated positions will save $9 million in the district’s general fund this year, and Superintendent Marrero is expected to address what the money will be spent on during a Board of Education meeting Thursday. According to an informational page regarding the 2022 reorganization, a central goal will be to “drive greater equity in student experience” by monitoring “equity in distribution of resources between and within schools.”
One of the staff members laid off by the district — who did not wish to be identified publicly — told Denver7 that the cuts hurt, and she is worried for the long-term impact on students. She said members of the central support team are often underappreciated and misunderstood.
While they were not identified as “direct to student” positions, the staff member said their work does have regular and meaningful impacts on student success. During the pandemic, central support staff members served as substitute teachers and lunch monitors during staffing crunches.
A representative for Denver Public Schools said all employees who were laid off are encouraged to apply for other open positions within the district.