LPS Future Vision

LPS Future Vision Roadshow Schedule
This is a fluid document, please check back as changes/updates may be made.

Imagine the Possibilities

What will our legacy be for future generations of LPS families and students in 15, 25, 50 years?
Fifty years ago this community left a legacy that we are still living. But what do we need to do now to ensure that our students are prepared for the future?

As one of Colorado’s highest achieving school districts, Littleton Public Schools has long provided students with an outstanding education. And as the job-scape continues to change with technology pushing us forward, LPS is committed to ensuring that we are prepared to educate our students for tomorrow’s world - in an environment where our kids are engaged and passionate about what they are learning.    

As we work together to answer these questions and shape our vision for the future of Littleton Public Schools, we must begin by addressing three critical components:

  • LPS' Vision for the Future: offering programming that prepares students for the rapidly changing expectations and demands of today’s colleges and workforce
  • Funding Challenges: securing necessary state and local funding to recover from a decade of state budget cuts
  • Possible Solutions: making wise investments in taxpayer facilities that will serve students and the community well for decades to come

Our students deserve the best. Our community expects the best. And LPS is prepared to deliver. As part of our larger plan to ensure that LPS continues to offer the best possible education, the district adopted a new academic achievement goal in 2017. The new District Achievement Goal states: 100% of LPS students will graduate prepared for meaningful post-secondary opportunities. It is our objective to ensure that all LPS students leave our classrooms and enter the world as well-adjusted young adults, equipped with the tools they need to be successful in a 21st century workplace.

Additionally, the LPS Board of Education outlined priority goals to help lead the district down this important road of planning for the future. Priority Board Goals include: planning for the effective use of resources; refining and expanding academically rigorous pathways; growing and improving safety, security and mental health processes and procedures; and providing effective professional development to ensure quality education and to recruit, retain and grow exceptional leaders, administrators and staff.

The Vision

As a changing job market demands more non-traditional skills - like creativity, critical thinking and entrepreneurship - LPS is committed to creating the physical and intellectual space necessary for innovation. We need to think about school differently. The vision is to foster an environment where there is:     

  • The time, opportunity and expectation to create.
  • The energy to explore passions and the unknown.
  • A supportive culture where risk-taking is encouraged and relationships are cultivated.
  • Permission to learn and demonstrate learning in different ways.

LPS is committed to offering additional relevant college/career pathways and preparing students for the changing expectations and rigor of college, as well as for the rapidly changing workforce.

In the fall of 2017 Dr. Bill Daggett - education leader, visionary and provocateur - spent time with LPS leaders, staff and community members to help begin the process of imagining what the future in LPS could look like. He began the process by helping LPS to consider some introspective questions to help ensure that the vision is relevant and personally suited for this district. For our students. For our community.

  • What does education need to look like in order for our kindergartners to be successful in 2030?
  • What skills will the future workforce demand?
  • How does a high-performing destination district such as LPS remain relevant, innovative and visionary?

Additionally, the Board of Education charged the Long-Range Planning Committee with: reviewing the district physical plant, program capacity and major capital equipment requirements and determining what improvements to efficiency and sustainability and infrastructure needs may be required during the next five to ten years.

Because Littleton Public Schools has made a commitment to a new learning goal, 100% of LPS students will graduate prepared for meaningful post-secondary opportunities, we have to answer a few further questions:

  • How can we facilitate learning experiences that allow students to engage in 21st century skills?
  • How can we engage non-traditional learners?
  • How can we maximize the learning of students who already do well in a traditional school setting?

LPS is very good at serving traditional learners. We need to find ways to better support the growing number of non-traditional learners as well, particularly in a landscape that increasingly demands a different skill set. Through research and conversation with our business partners, we can see a shift occurring. The top skills in demand for a job in 2015 are already quite different than those projected to be the top skills needed even just in 2020.

According to the Future Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum projects the Top 10 Skills for 2020 versus for 2015:

In 2020 In 2015
Complex Problem Solving Complex Problem Solving
Critical Thinking Coordinating with Others
Creativity People Management
People Management Critical Thinking
Coordinating with Others Negotiation
Emotional Intelligence Quality Control
Judgement and Decision Making Service Orientation
Service Orientation Judgement and Decision Making
Negotiation Active Listening
Cognitive Flexibility Creativity

(Source: Top 10 skills - Future of Jobs report; World Economic Forum)

According to the Colorado Department of Education, the essential skills are:

Entrepreneurial Skills

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Creativity/Innovation
  • Inquiry/Analysis
  • Risk Taking

Personal Skills

  • Self-Awareness
  • Initiative/Self-Direction
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Adaptability/Flexibility
  • Perseverance/Resilience

Civic/Interpersonal Skills

  • Collaboration/Teamwork
  • Communication (using information and communications technologies)
  • Global/Cultural Awareness
  • Civic Engagement
  • Character

Professional Skills

  • Task/Time Management
  • Career Awareness
  • Information Literacy
  • Use Information and Communications Technologies
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Leadership

The Solution

There is a solution! But it’s complicated. LPS needs a number of major components - at both the state and local level - to come together. The Solution:

  • Passage of a statewide ballot initiative for Colorado's K-12 public schools
  • Distributed to K-12 education through the superintendent's’ proposed new school finance formula for adequate and equitable funding of Colorado’s schools
  • Passage of a local bond initiative

The breakdown:
If passed, a statewide initiative would provide the ongoing money needed to support school districts in Colorado. There is simply no way to solve this funding crisis without a statewide ballot initiative. Under TABOR, the law requires that any tax increase must be approved by voters. Language for a statewide initiative is currently being written to be included on the November 2018 ballot.

If passed, the Superintendent’s New School Finance Formula (HB 18-1232) would ensure that dollars collected from the passage of a statewide initiative would be distributed appropriately to better meet the needs of our schools and our communities - moving the state towards adequacy and equity for K-12 funding. Colorado superintendents came together to support HB 18-1232 as a response to the challenges created by the current school finance model. Based on student needs, the new formula would better serve all students, particularly those who are currently underserved and those who face the greatest challenges finishing high school prepared for college or a career.

As a result, LPS would secure an additional $20.2 million annually.

Finally, if passed, a local bond would provide LPS with the funding needed to complete much needed capital improvements. Aging facilities are challenging. LPS schools are on average at least 55 years old and are reaching their end of life.  Schools of this age were not designed for today's or tomorrow's education. They lack the appropriate space for creativity, collaboration, and exploration. They lack the appropriate space to serve students with special needs and are not ADA compliant. Passage of a local bond would be an investment in improved physical space for learning, benefitting the district and the community for decades to come. This money would be used for critical projects such as:

  • Finishing deferred maintenance which prolongs the useful life of our schools
  • Updating failing playgrounds and fields, which protects the community's investment and benefits community use 
  • Creating learning space appropriate for new K-12 pathways, which provides additional ways for students to be college and career ready, including more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), more access to college-level courses and expanded career-focused learning
  • Reconstructing aging school buildings to be more safe, efficient, and accesible to all students

Funding Challenges

The LPS Dilemma
The vision for LPS is a bright one, but there is no doubt that we are facing a multi-faceted dilemma:

  • The Negative Factor has shortchanged LPS of $101 million in the last eight years.
  • Programming is not keeping up with what college and the workforce demands and expects of our graduates.
  • Aging facilities are beginning to fail and in some instance are no longer recoverable. Others never met ADA requirements.

Passed more than two decades ago, the current school finance act - formally the Public School Finance Act of 1994 - no longer serves the needs of Colorado students. In 2000, Amendment 23 - a citizen’s ballot initiative - was passed, mandating that “base” per pupil funding increase each year by the rate of inflation. But in 2009, the state legislature reinterpreted Amendment 23, creating the Negative Factor; which immediately began stripping school districts of critical funding and shortchanging an entire generation of LPS students of the education they deserve. (Read more about the Negative Factor) While Littleton Public Schools is fortunate to have overwhelming community support - passing every bond and mill-levy override ever brought to election - it has still not been enough to combat the sizable deficit caused by the Negative Factor. A look at reductions since 2010:

The annual Negative Factor reductions:

Statewide reductions to K-12 education
2010: $130 million
2011: $381 million
2012: $774 million
2013: $1.01 billion
2014: $1 billion
2015: $894 million
2016: $831 million
2017: $831 million
Total: Over $5.8 billion
Consequent state-funding cuts to Littleton Public Schools:
2010: $2,410,957
2011: $6,967,226
2012: $13,829,263
2013: $17,791,090
2014: $17,343,058
2015: $14,917,613
2016: $13,965,917
2017: $13,739,425
Total: $100,964,549

This lack of funding has serious implications, causing things like teacher salaries, special education, mental health services and school facilities to suffer greatly. For example, Colorado teacher salaries are well below the national average, leading to higher student-to-teacher ratios and overcrowding of classrooms. Colorado currently ranks 42nd in the nation in per pupil funding and 50th in the nation in teacher salary competitiveness. Colorado funding is way below the national average.

Initiative 93 - Ballot Language

Shall state taxes be increased $1,600,000,000 annually by an amendment to the Colorado constitution and a change to the Colorado revised statutes concerning funding relating to preschool through high school public education, and, in connection therewith, creating an exception to the single rate state income tax for revenue that is dedicated to the funding of public schools; increasing income tax rates incrementally for individuals, trusts, and estates using four tax brackets starting at .37% for income above $150,000 and increasing to 3.62% for income above $500,000; increasing the corporate income tax rate by 1.37%; for purposes of school district property taxes, reducing the current residential assessment rate of 7.2% to 7.0% and the current nonresidential assessment rate of 29%to 24%; requiring the revenue from the income tax increases to be deposited in a dedicated public education fund and allowing the revenue collected to be retained and spent as voter-approved revenue changes; requiring the legislature to annually appropriate money from the fund to school districts to support early childhood through high school public educational programs on an equitable basis throughout the state without decreasing general fund appropriations; directing the legislature to enact, regularly review, and revise when necessary, a new public school finance law that meets specified criteria; until the legislature has enacted a new public school finance law, requiring the money in the fund to be annually appropriated for specified education programs and purposes; requiring the money in the fund to be used to support only public schools; requiring general fund appropriations for public education to increase by inflation, up to 5%, annually; and requiring the department of education to commission a study of the use of the money in the fund within five years?

Takeaways

  • Creates a tax on federal income above $150,000 and on corporations to prepare every student for college, career and life.
  • Makes funding more sustainable for schools by locking in property tax rates (currently 3rd lowest in nation) after lowering them for everyone.
  • Money can only be used in support of public schools and requires accountability on public dollars.

Learn more about the Great Schools, Thriving Communities Ballot Initiative

What We Know About Learning

Timeline

Spring 2018

Staff, parent and community feedback gathered through presentations and surveys.

Legislative Session continues.

Long Range Planning Committee continues to study the issues and makes recommendations to the Board of Education.

Summer 2018

Board of Education decides whether or not to put a ballot question before LPS voters.

Signatures gathered across the state and verified in order to place Initiative 93 on the statewide ballot.

November 2018

Possible statewide election for Initiative 93.

Possible local election for a bond to support LPS.

Videos

What Does Innovation Look Like?
If you can write an algorithm for a task; the job is gone. The workforce is rapidly changing and we need to be able to prepare our students for tomorrow’s world.

Robotic Brick Layer

3D Printed House

Self-Driving Tesla

UPS Drone Delivery

Innovative Learning Spaces

21st Century Learning Space

David Thornburg on the Evolving Classsroom

The Research

But Wait, What Happened to All the Marijuana Money?

When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, there was a lot of talk of that money helping schools. But it is a misperception that most of the marijuana tax revenue goes to K-12 education. The majority of funds go to the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund for healthcare, health education, substance abuse and treatment programs and law enforcement. Through a CDE Health Professional Grant, LPS gets enough money to fund two positions – grant funds are limited to three years.

From the 15% excise tax on marijuana purchases, money also goes into the BEST fund. In 2017-18 this fund made available only about $40 million for school construction – and districts are often required to provide matching funds. Additionally, about $30 million will go to rural schools.

The reality is that marijuana tax money is benefitting school districts – and that is a good thing. But it is not nearly enough to fix the fact that Colorado schools are underfunded by about $830 million.


Chart from Great Schools, Thiriving Communities

History: LPS in 1885

As Littleton Public Schools looks for innovative ways to maintain a longstanding tradition of excellence, it is interesting also to look at our history. A year-end report to the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education – from 1885 – reveals that while it is important to continue to evolve, many fundamental issues related to public education have not changed that much in the last 133 years. We are still talking about how to improve instruction, debating “opting out” of state assessments and addressing national political issues

Year-end Report to the LPS Board of Education - 1885

Boys = 48
Girls = 41

“The school was placed under a graded course of instruction this year, and better work is the result. Many of the pupils left just before the close of school, fearing the examination; but those who remained passed with high standing. I am happy to state the religious and political factions that tried to injure the school, failed ingloriously.”

- A.D. Bailey, Principal ($85 per month: 9 month contract)
- Miss Frank Lyons, Assistant ($50 per month: 9 month contract)