Littleton Schools’ spending focuses on safety

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Back in the day, Littleton Public Schools had the luxury of spending capital funds on “facility enhancements” to spruce things up a bit, Superintendent Scott Murphy said during the Feb. 23 school board meeting — but today it’s all about asset preservation and the health and safety of students.

“This represents we-need-to-get-this-done-now types of things,” said Jim Woods, operations manager, after presenting the list of projects his department has set as priorities.

Although the total need tops $50 million, just about $2.6 million will be available in the 2012-13 budget.

Of that, $1.5 million will go directly into the buildings. About $200,000 will resurface the track and replace the irrigation system at Arapahoe High School. Clocks, bells and the public-address system will be replaced at Littleton High School for $210,000. An additional $100,000 will go to install cable for network upgrades at both schools.

Throughout the district, there will be improvements to security, plumbing, air quality, playgrounds, flooring, roofing and more. Nearly $500,000 will be spent to replace aging buses and other vehicles, and $100,000 will repair concrete and asphalt.

Board member Sue Chandler noted that most of those are safety issues, not cosmetic, and not doing them puts the district at risk.

“Students learn better when they feel safe,” she said.

The board is scheduled to approve the entire budget later this year, but gave preliminary approval to the project list.

“We have just a short window in the summer when we really need to get things done,” said Woods. “If you’re comfortable with this, then they can start doing a lot of prep work.”