LPS Board Places Bond Issue on November Ballot

LPS Board of Education approves Long Range Planning Committee’s recommendation to place a $298M bond on local November ballot;

Every school to benefit, will begin replacing aging schools with new construction

At its regularly scheduled August 23, 2018 meeting, the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education, in a 5-0 vote, approved the Long Range Planning Committee’s recommendation to begin to replace the district's aged facilities with new ones, to renovate the newly acquired facility across the street from Littleton High School (formerly Schomp Automotive) with a new district Career and Technical Education and Innovation Center and to make important safety, security and instructional space changes to all other schools. The Board also approved language for the November 2018 ballot, which will ask local voters to pass a $298 million bond to fund the Long Range Planning Committee’s recommendation.

Members of the Long Range Planning Committee, comprised of community members representing various stakeholder groups - including taxpayers who are not current parents of LPS students - have been studying the safety, access and instructional challenges of aging facilities, increased transportation challenges and the need to provide the appropriate instructional space for all students.

After a year and a half of analysis, the Committee recommended a bond package totaling $298 million, which improves the instructional environment for every student in every school. Passage of the bond would allow LPS to:

  • Begin to strategically replace the district’s aging facilities in a way that also addresses transportation and school size challenges;

  • Renovate a recently purchased property (formerly Schomp Automotive, across from Littleton High School) to create a new Career and Technical Education and Innovation Center for the district;

  • Maintain district facilities, including charter schools, according to need by addressing the backlog of projects that are not considered critical health and safety priorities but are still important as the district continues to prolong the life of aging facilities until the district can replace them in decades to come; and

  • Replace old, outdated student desks and classroom furniture in every school with new furnishings that will facilitate modern instruction while accommodating students with a variety of needs.

Long Range Planning Committee Chair Brian Bostwick stressed to the Board that this recommendation represents the first of many steps to replace aging schools over time.

The Board expressed its gratitude to the 20+ community members of the Long Range Planning Committee for their two-year commitment to this work on behalf of the students, staff, and families of LPS.  Their work provides a strategic starting point for maintaining the LPS reputation of excellence for generations to come.

“The Board recognizes and values the partnership it has with the community,” said LPS Board President Jack Reutzel.  “Putting a bond measure before the voters is not taken lightly. The Board is asking our community to make a reinvestment in its schools that will serve the instructional, safety, and programming needs of our students well into the future.”

Several volunteers representing the Citizens for LPS campaign committee were in attendance and encouraged the Board to put the bond question on the ballot. “I want to be part of maintaining the district’s long-standing reputation as one that provides an education for children from all backgrounds and abilities, ” said campaign co-chair Lindley McCrary, whose family ties to LPS span three generations.  

Additionally, the Board passed a resolution in support of statewide ballot initiative Amendment 73 - Great Schools Thriving Communities, which will also be on the November 2018 ballot. Amendment 73 asks Colorado voters to pass a ballot initiative to raise an additional $1.6 billion annual revenue for Colorado public schools, bringing them closer to the national average in school funding. Passage of Amendment 73 would mean an additional $23.1 million annually for LPS, which would help fund priorities related to adequate school staffing, career and technical education programming, security and mental health supports, early childhood education and additional academic interventions.

The LPS bond election and Amendment 73 are separate ballot initiatives that work together to provide funding that addresses student needs in different ways. The LPS bond initiative will be decided by local voters. It is a local property tax increase that would raise $298 million for capital projects. Amendment 73 is a statewide income tax, affecting the top 8% of income earners, which would raise $1.6 billion annually for K-12 education in Colorado. The passage of both ballot initiatives would provide funding to help LPS address long-term K-12 funding deficits. LPS taxpayers will have the opportunity to vote on both initiatives.

“We’ve been talking about this vision for the future of LPS for quite a while. It’s important to preserve the tradition of educational excellence LPS is known for, and in order to do that, we need to think differently about both the physical space and the programming we offer our students,” said LPS Superintendent Brian Ewert. “With the LPS bond and Amendment 73 both on the ballot, the stars are aligning in LPS to make it possible to provide the quality educational experience our community’s children need and deserve well into the future.”

Continuing a legacy of excellence in LPS

Sixty years ago, the Littleton Public Schools community built schools for its children and created a legacy of excellence that is still being realized today. This legacy has served us well and has made possible an outstanding education for generations of LPS students. LPS’ schools were built between 1949 and 1981, with the majority of them built in the 50s and 60s. The average age of LPS facilities is 58 years; LPS would need to replace a school every three years in order to maintain a future average age of 62 years.

With the community’s support, LPS has maintained its aging schools over the decades. However, some challenges cannot be overcome. Some schools cannot be renovated to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations. Aging schools are not efficient and they require expensive renovation to meet today’s safety and security expectations. The layout of older schools limits opportunities for students to work in small teams and experience complex hands-on learning. Some of our schools, such as Runyon Elementary, have been renovated to provide these opportunities. However, renovations are not possible in all schools. The needs and expectations for today’s learning have changed. The rapidly changing job market demands more non-traditional skills of our graduates - like creativity, critical thinking and entrepreneurship. Our graduates, whether continuing on to college, serving in the military or entering the workforce, need complex skills in science, technology, engineering and math - also called STEM.

Click here for more details about the proposed bond projects, the timeline, ballot language, Amendment 73 and more.