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Passage of a local mill levy is the only way to save what the community values most in LPS
During its regularly scheduled meeting on August 13, 2020, the LPS Board of Education voted to move forward with plans to place a mill levy override on the November 2020 ballot. Throughout the summer, the Board studied various options available to fill the anticipated ongoing $12 million budget gap LPS will face caused by the COVID-19 economic downturn in Colorado and due to the State of Colorado’s chronic inability to adequately fund its public schools. Colorado has shortchanged LPS more than $156 million over the past decade, which has placed tremendous and increasing pressure on the district’s budget. No state solutions are in sight. If local solutions are not found, people and programs – the very parts of our schools that the LPS community values most – will face drastic cuts for the 2021–2022 school year.
The Board began exploring local solutions last January. After making $4.2 million in cuts for the 2020–2021 school year, and projected cuts of $12 million for 2021–2022 (and beyond) looming, the LPS Board recognized that these budget cuts will negatively impact the academic excellence this community value and expects of LPS:
As presented to the Board of Education at their August 13, 2020 meeting, the local mill levy override would raise $12 million to fill the $12 million state funding gap for the 2021–2022 school and in the years ahead. The money would be used to keep the teachers, academic programs (including those in the skilled trades), mental health support and physical safety measures that are currently in place.
“These are extreme circumstances; COVID has placed an additional strain on many of our families and on our district’s budget. But with Colorado’s inability to adequately fund its public schools, we are facing truly catastrophic cuts. While this is a hard time to have to do this, we are a public school district. So we need to at least ask the public and let them decide,” said Board of Education President Jack Reutzel. “We have exhausted all other options. A local mill levy override would give us the chance to save the things our community values the most – the very people and programs that makes Littleton Public Schools so special, which in turn would allow us to keep providing our community with an outstanding education.”