LPS Voters Approve Bond Issue 4A

Unofficial Results Indicate that LPS Voters Approve Bond Issue 4A;
Statewide Voters Say No to Amendment 73

“We would like to say a big thank you to our community! The fact that our voters approved a tax increase to make this bond possible is a huge endorsement of LPS. This continued and unrelenting support from our community is what has allowed LPS to preserve its reputation as a district of excellence and is exactly what will allow LPS to continue providing the quality educational experience our community’s children need and deserve,” said Littleton Public Schools Superintendent Brian Ewert.

Thanks to the generous support of the Littleton Public Schools’ community, unofficial results indicate that bond election 4A passed last night with 55.5% approval. Measure 4A allows LPS to raise $298 million for capital projects, including: replacing aging schools with new construction, continued repair and upkeep of others, the creation of a Career and Technical Education and Innovation Center, and new furniture in LPS schools.

“We take our partnership with our community members very seriously. They expect a comprehensive education in a safe and caring environment. In return, we count on their support for various bond measures, and we are grateful for their decision to pass 4A,” said LPS Board of Education President Jack Reutzel. “The age of our facilities is impacting the educational experience in our district and 4A will remedy this. We heard from our community a need for a career and technical education pathway that will allow LPS graduates to walk right into a living wage without the need for a 4 year degree – and with 4A we will now be able to provide that.”

Bond Measure 4A was placed on the November 2018 ballot after a 5-0 vote by the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education, as recommended by the district’s Long Range Planning Committee. The committee – comprised of community members representing various stakeholder groups – carefully studied the safety, access and instructional challenges of aging facilities, increased transportation challenges and the need to provide the appropriate instructional space for all students. The committee also worked through several bond package scenarios in an effort to determine which solution best meets the district’s goal: “One hundred percent of LPS students will graduate prepared for meaningful post-secondary opportunities.”

After nearly two years of analysis, the committee recommended a bond package totaling $298 million, which improves the instructional environment for every student in every school. At its regularly scheduled August 23, 2018 meeting, the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education approved the Long Range Planning Committee’s recommendation. Passage of 4A will 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 to create a new Career and Technical Education and Innovation Center for the district (formerly Schomp Automotive, across from Littleton High School);
  • 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 and address accessibility issues 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.

The district addresses as many capital needs as it can, every year, with existing dollars. But with current funding levels, district facilities are aging beyond the district’s ability to maintain the level of excellence LPS students and community members expect and deserve. To maintain an average age of 62 years for LPS buildings, the district will need to replace a school every three years. Additionally, instructional delivery methods are rapidly changing, becoming more hands-on, flexible, self-driven and diverse. The district recognizes that modern, inclusive instruction requires spaces that are designed to meet students’ diverse learning needs.

“We created a forward-thinking, visionary roadmap for the future and that resonated with our community. We need to start rebuilding the district’s capital infrastructure, and our taxpayers have agreed that the time is now. This bond has something for everyone; every LPS student will benefit,” said Ewert. “I cannot stress enough the dramatic impact of Bond Issue 4A passing. It will literally change the face of LPS for decades to come.”

Statewide Amendment 73 Falls Short, Denying Colorado Public Schools Critical State-Level Funding
Unofficial results indicate that Amendment 73 failed to pass with 44.5% of Colorado voters supporting the initiative. A 55% super-majority was required for passage. Amendment 73, a statewide income tax – affecting the top 8% of income earners – would have raised $1.6 billion annually for K-12 education statewide, and LPS’ share of those funds would have been $23.1 million annually. Funds would have been spent on recurring needs such as additional staff in schools to better meet the safety, academic and mental health needs of students; new programming and additional staff for the Career and Technical Education and Innovation Center; and free full-day kindergarten districtwide.

“We are disheartened that Colorado voters were unable to reach the super majority of 55% in order for this to pass, but we knew it was a steep mountain to climb. Amendment 73 would have provided districts with much needed relief from funding challenges created at the state level,” said Ewert. “It would have allowed LPS to build critical new programming for career and technical education pathways; safety, security and mental health support and resources; recruit and retain the very best employees across all employee groups; and offer full-day kindergarten, free of charge.”

“We are disappointed by Colorado voters’ decision not to approve Amendment 73. LPS has done a remarkable job being efficient with resources, but without Amendment 73 we will continue to face funding challenges created by the negative factor,” said Reutzel. “We will continue to provide the best and most comprehensive educational experience we can, given the funding we have. While Colorado voters have a history of voting against statewide K-12 funding initiatives, LPS taxpayers have never voted down a bond or mill levy for Littleton Public Schools. The LPS Board of Education is beyond grateful.”

What’s Next?
The Littleton Public Schools Board of Education will begin the design and procurement process in January 2019. The next steps are as follows:

  • January 2019–March 2020
    • Design and procurement for new middle school on Newton campus, Junior Stadium and new elementary school on the Ames Facility campus
  • March 2020–June 2021
    • Procurement and build new middle school on Newton campus, Junior Stadium and new elementary school on the Ames facility campus
  • June 2020–June 2021
    • Design and procurement for new elementary school to serve Highland and Franklin communities on the current Franklin campus

Students, parents, staff and community members will be involved in the design process for each project. A citizen’s oversight committee will be formed to review the use of the new dollars to ensure that the funding is used wisely for the purposes that were represented to the voters.

“I want to personally thank those who were deeply involved in the Yes on 4A campaign. These volunteers gave countless hours to the campaign,” said Ewert. “It wouldn't have passed without them.”