There's a strange equation right now in Denver. As more people have moved in, the number of students at Denver Public Schools actually dropped for the first time since 2004, according to Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova.
"You just look at the city, you see a lot of cranes, a lot of construction, but it's mostly housing for millennials," Cordova said.
With fewer students, the school district expects to have less money moving forward. So, the answer for DPS adds up to its own strange equation -- increase the amount of money to the classroom.
"Wanted to make sure that as the cost of living increases and salaries go up, that schools' buying power remained exactly the same as its been in the past," Cordova said.
A district memo sent Friday by Superintendent Tom Boasberg outlines a proposal to find money for schools within the budget for the Central Office by eliminating 40 positions.
"We did a lot of looking at what are the roles that we had at the Central Office? What was their purpose and would that funding be better utilized by creating jobs directly in schools to help students," Cordova said.
In the memo, Boasberg points out a need for dealing with students social and emotional issues. Cordova says the district wants to place a psychologist or social worker or both in every building in the district.
"It means that schools have the resources inside the school as opposed to having to call downtown to get somebody to come and help them out," Cordova said.
Cordova says mental health issues have grown due in some part to the strange equation of population growth and rising housing costs.
"As the city becomes more expensive to live in, our families who come with less family income have more stressors," Cordova said. "It's hard at home when you're struggling to pay rent."
The budget numbers have yet to be finalized so it is not clear how much less the district is expected to have for the 2018-19 school year. The Denver School Board will approve a final proposal sometime in the spring.