Littleton Public Schools is the best place to be for many reasons!
Dear LPS community members:
I want to begin by wishing each of you a wonderful new year! It’s a great time to be in Littleton Public Schools for so many reasons. I want to take this opportunity to share mine with you as well as some of the issues we are anticipating in the future.
Reason #1: This community has unwavering support for its public schools, and that support is never taken for granted. It’s scary sometimes to pick up the newspaper and read what’s happening to Colorado’s budget and our state’s ability to fund its most basic priorities, such as fire, police, roads, and education. Reductions in funding and mid-year rescissions have occurred each of the last three years. Recent reports indicate that the state of Colorado is indeed suffering from a $1 billion budget deficit. In fact, due to state budget cuts, LPS receives about $9.5 million less in state funding each year than it should.
Reason #2: Hope springs eternal. Here, hope was in abundance in 2010. Despite these tough times, this community pulled together and passed a mill levy election for an additional $12 million annually for LPS. This additional funding will not solve all of the district’s budget challenges, but it certainly puts LPS on more solid footing as we move forward. Without mill levy funds, LPS would AGAIN be cutting about $6 million for the 2011-2012 school year. It will allow us to maintain what we currently have in place while our neighboring districts will be challenged with deep budget cuts.
Reason #3: In early December, the Colorado Department of Education awarded LPS Accreditation with Distinction. This is the highest accreditation rating given to districts. LPS was the only Denver metro area school district to be Accredited with Distinction and one of only 14 districts across the state of Colorado. Our work toward our district achievement goal, which states that 90 percent of all students will be on or above grade level in reading, math, writing and science by 2012 has provided laser-like focus on student achievement and has framed our work in such a way that our students get the support they need to achieve to their potential.
We are so proud of our teachers, all employees, our volunteers, and our parents who create such nurturing, caring environments in our elementary schools. Our middle schools allow students to explore their interests in new areas. They continue to shape and develop their character, leadership, and independence in preparation for their success in our nationally recognized, award-winning high schools. LPS graduates more college-bound students than arguably any other district, and each year these students earn about $30 million in college scholarships.
Reason #4: To cap off 2010, the LPS Board of Education was named by the Colorado Association of School Boards as the 2010 All-State School Board. This is a tribute to our community as well, as this Board worked through and led this community to the resolution of some of the toughest challenges faced by any Board of Education over the last three years.
Reason #5: We take control of our destiny. One of the most admirable qualities about this community is that it does not put off the difficult work until tomorrow. Instead, we tackle the tough issues together and solve them to the best of our ability.
Learn from the past, watch the present, and create the future.
There will always be tough issues before us. The goal now is to stretch the mill levy funds as long as possible, knowing that at some point, fixed mill levy funds will not be able to keep pace with the increasing costs of doing business. But, we will not allow, nor have we ever allowed, the state’s funding problems to derail our efforts toward excellence. Our students attain more success than most districts can ever hope for. However, we are never satisfied, and we will always strive for even higher achievement and greater success for all. It is our duty to be watchful, thoughtful, and careful in future years, and to continue to be good stewards of taxpayer money. You will continue to be a part of that process.
I wish for each of you a happy and healthy 2011. And, I speak for all of us in LPS when I say, “Thank You” for allowing us to serve our community’s children.
Indeed, it is a blessing.