February 5, 2014
Dear LPS Parents:
As you know, the 2014 Colorado Legislative Session is in full swing. This year, because of Colorado’s rebounding economy, Colorado’s legislature has more revenue to spend than it did last year.
Over the past four years, legislative cuts have resulted in a $17.3 million loss for LPS in state funding every year due to what’s called the “negative factor” in the Colorado School Finance Act. Now that the state’s economy is recovering and additional funds are available for K-12 education, bills are being introduced that would regulate how those restored funds must be spent.
Littleton Public Schools is asking its legislators to give school districts the flexibility to meet the needs of their students based on local values and without spending designations. We need your help.
Please email or call our legislators (listed below) and tell them it is critical that they restore funding to K-12 education without tying our hands.
• We agree a plan must be developed now to return funding to our classrooms by restoring the funds that were cut during the state’s economic downturn. Don’t tie the restored funding to specific, state-initiated programs.
• Local control is the law in Colorado, and LPS must be given flexibility to put this restored funding where our students need it the most based on our community’s local values for high academic achievement, literacy intervention, and meeting the needs of all LPS students.
• LPS is changing and our families are more diverse. We have schools that serve student populations with poverty rates higher than 80 percent.
• We have students with mental health needs who can’t get support because they don’t qualify as at-risk students.
• The state is negligent in its funding for special education. The state covers less than 20 percent of the district’s special education costs.
As you well know, LPS has endured millions of dollars in state budget cuts, which resulted in program cuts, higher class sizes, and the loss of about 400 full- and part-time positions. Thanks to LPS voters, a $12 million mill levy override was passed in November of 2010. This local financial commitment covered the state’s budget cut of $4 million to LPS for the 2011-2012 school year. It’s important to remember that none of these cuts have been restored.
In addition, during these years of ongoing budget cuts, the Legislature did not offer solutions regarding how or where cuts should be made. In fact, additional unfunded legislation was passed each year, without regard for the current financial picture. It would be irresponsible for the Legislature to now tie the hands of school districts and mandate how restored funding must be spent.
Littleton Public Schools strongly opposes any spending designations on restored funding. LPS believes in local control — that local values should drive our spending priorities, not the state.
Littleton Public Schools has a track record of proven academic excellence and fiscal accountability. There is no “one size fits all” solution to students’ varying needs. LPS must be given flexibility to put this restored funding where our students need it the most based on our community’s local values.
Lucie Stanish, President, Board of Education
Kelly Perez, Treasurer, Board of Education
Jack Reutzel, Asst. Secretary, Board of Education
Carrie Warren-Gully, Vice President, Board of Education
Mary Nichols, Secretary, Board of Education
Scott Murphy, Superintendent, Littleton Public Schools
Contact your Legislators:
Senator Linda Newell
Representative Kathleen Conti
Representative Daniel Kagan
Senator David Balmer
Representative Spencer Swalm