Littleton Public Schools Board of Education members have agreed to ask voters for $12 million — nearly the maximum amount allowable — for the …
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Littleton Public Schools Board of Education members have agreed
to ask voters for $12 million — nearly the maximum amount allowable
— for the financially struggling district.
On June 10, the board voted 4-0 in favor of the mill levy
override election. Board member Mary Nichols was absent.
“I do feel we have a responsibility… to provide the resources to
continue to supply a quality education,” board member Lucie Stanish
said. “I don’t think the kids in our seats can wait for the state
to get it together. I feel like we have to do it.”
At last month’s meeting, District Chief Financial Officer Scott
Myers presented the board with three different mill levy scenarios:
$8 million, $10 million or $12 million. Some board members seemed
at times to struggle with asking for the highest amount. But in the
end, asking taxpayers for $12 million — 94 percent of the maximum
available amount — was the consensus.
“I’m leaning toward 12,” said board member Sue Chandler. “I’m OK
with 10 or 12, but eight is not enough.”
A $12 million mill levy override is projected to last the
district six or more years, provided there are no more state
funding cuts. It would cost a home owner $6.07 per month, or $72.81
per year for every $100,000 in home value.
All five school board members had unofficially agreed May 27
that the district must go forward with a mill levy override
election this fall to make up for a state-funding shortfall.
In its proposed 2010-11 budget, the district plans to cut $7.5
million to make up for dwindling state finance act funds. The
district opted not to renew 52 teachers’ contracts for next year
and has implemented other cuts, resulting in larger class sizes and
certain programs being eliminated. Two furlough days, where
employees do not work and do not get paid, were added to the
The district has made other cuts that include eliminating the
AVID program at secondary schools, eliminating the International
Baccalaureate programs at Field Elementary and Newton Middle
schools, cutting custodial support services staff, as well as
central office staff.
Should the mill levy measure pass, board President Bob Colwell
said the money will not be used to restore programs that have been
cut. It will instead be used to stabilize the budget and maintain
current programs and staff.
“This doesn’t help us restore,” Colwell said. “We need this just
to keep the boat afloat.”
Now that the decision has been made to put the question to
voters in November, the real work begins. Parent Carrie
Warren-Gully will be leading the effort to drum up community
support for the mill levy. Warren-Gully and others at previous
meetings had encouraged the board to move forward with a mill levy
She plans on sending mailings about the mill levy to district
voters, as well as creating a website where people can find
information about the issue.
“I’m most excited they decided to go for the $12 million,”
Warren-Gully said. “When you think about the expense and the
volunteer effort it takes to run an election, it’s difficult to
think about having to do that again in two years.”
Warren-Gully, who is on the parent-teacher organizations for
Arapahoe High School and Newton Middle School, said 50 to 75 people
have signed up to help her get the word out.
“Right now the biggest thing is going to be to get out and reach
communities who aren’t necessarily tied to the schools,” she said.
“We will try to work with chambers, city councils, community groups
and clubs and get information out through them as well.”
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