BY FREDA MIKLIN
Littleton Public Schools (LPS) asked its voters for permission to borrow nearly $300 million to be paid back with interest by funds raised through its mill levy, which is estimated to cost $116 to $196 annually for the owner of a $400,000 home in the school district. Voters approved the request by a decisive margin of 57-43. For their investment, they can expect Newton Middle School to be completely rebuilt, including new spaces for professional development and a new junior stadium for district use that includes playable surfaces for district-sponsored junior varsity and varsity sports as well as club sports in the community. The new school building will be set back from busy Arapahoe Road for safer student drop-off and pickup. LPS also plans to build a new elementary school in the southeast corner of the district on the current Ames Facility campus at 7300 S. Clermont Drive in Centennial and another to serve the Highland and Franklin communities on the current Franklin campus at 1603 E. Euclid Avenue in Centennial. The most exciting new addition to LPS is its coming career and technical education facility to be built on the old Schomp Automotive property across from Littleton High School, which LPS contracted to acquire earlier this year. That facility will provide college-level courses and career-focused learning for students wishing to pursue that avenue of study. Programs are expected to include the fields of aviation, computer coding, drones, robotics and health care, in addition to the construction trades. The location was partly chosen due to its easy access from all parts of the school district by public transportation for those without access to private vehicles.
Voters in the Littleton Fire Protection district (LFPD) outside the city’s boundaries previously voted to contract with South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) for fire protection services effective Jan. 1, 2019. It was left to the voters of Littleton proper to formally affirm the city’s affiliation with SMFR, which would have taken over protection regardless, in the new year. Falling in step with the decision already made, voters agreed to join SMFR. That completes SMFR’s takeover of the area, making it the second largest firefighting organization in the state, behind Denver Fire Department. Most agree that it is a more efficient way to deliver fire protection services. Although SMFR’s mill levy of 9.25 mills is higher than LFPD’s of 7.678 mills, members of the LFPD board said earlier this year that they were facing a decision to raise theirs to 10 mills if the merger had not occurred. As of Jan. 1, SMFR will be responsible for fire protection services for over 250,000 residents of much of Arapahoe and Douglas counties, including the cities of Lone Tree, Parker, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village and most of Centennial. Firefighters employed by LFPD will become SMFR employees, if they haven’t already done so.
In the November election, the City of Littleton asked voters to approve five housekeeping measures to better organize its municipal code and change some procedures in city government. Four failed. Only ballot question 3E was approved, which will permit city council to hold executive sessions for evaluation of council appointees, discuss negotiations for the purchase and sale of property, and receive legal advice from the city attorney.
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