Schools get first raise from state in four years

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The budget the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education approved on June 27 for next year includes some hopeful signs, but mostly a lot of status quo.

Per-pupil funding from the state increased for the first time in four years. It’s $6398, $165 more than last year. However, total budgeted expenses are $9,080 per student. The district predicts a decrease of 64 students next year, to 15,381. But more students still transfer into LPS than any other district in the metro area, noted Scott Myers, chief financial officer.

“Which is always a good sign, that people are choosing to come here,” said board member Sue Chandler.

The bottom line is a $221 million total budget, up about 2 percent from last year’s $216 million. Total expenditures increased $3 million to $173 million. The other $43 million is mostly state-mandated emergency reserves.

“The definition of emergency did not include fiscal problems,” noted Myers.

The general fund increased about 2 percent to $135.4 million. It pays for day-to-day operations and is made up of about equal parts property tax and state funding, and about 7 percent in miscellaneous revenue. But total general-fund revenues are budgeted at nearly $140 million; salary and benefits account for 78 percent of that.

The capital fund, which maintains the district’s physical assets, is $4.2 million. That includes $2.6 million in current revenues and $1.6 million in beginning fund balances. The fund is expected to end the year at $1.1 million. The district is bolstering it with money from the general fund, $184 per student. With more than $80 million in capital needs, the district is weighing putting a bond issue to the voters this year.

“I am worried about some of the issues going on in our buildings and how much longer we can drag them out,” said Chandler.

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