Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

The approval of the LCPS school bond will not increase local taxes; Mill tax question also on the voting slip

Mike Cook

Editor’s Note: The November 2 local election ballot includes two questions from Las Cruces Public Schools: 1) the bond issue and 2) the mill levy. Check the back of your voting slip to make sure you are voting on both questions. The LCPS questions are on the ballot paper for all qualified voters residing in the school district. This means that you can vote on the LCPS bond and mill levy along with your votes in the elections for the city council, the school board and the soil and water protection district, or you can vote on the school bond and soil and water protection district election, even if Your city council and school board races are not on the ballot this year.

Las Cruces Public Schools will need about $ 500 million to bring all of its schools up to date, but it will only ask for $ 50 million in the 2021 bond elections to avoid an increase in local property tax, said LCPS superintendent Ralph Ramos.

LCPS’s 2021 bond issue meets the needs identified in the school district’s maintenance plan, which is updated every four years, said LCPS Community Outreach Liaison Brigette Zigelhofer.

The bond issue also includes $ 15 million to rebuild Columbia Elementary School. The school closed in 2018 after mold was discovered. The new school building will be erected at the same location, 4555 Elks Drive.

Gloria Martinez, director of construction for the LCPS, said the school district is in the process of hiring a general contractor for the demolition work on the Columbia Elementary, which she believes could begin this December. Martinez said she was also working on hiring an architect to design the new school, with design expected to begin in January.

Columbia Elementary School students have attended Centennial High School since the school closed. The Columbia Elementary’s new building is slated to open in the fall of 2024, Ramos said.

Here are more items that will be paid for in 2021 bond money if voters approve:

  • $ 11 million for new maintenance facilities in the LCPS operations building on Tashiro Drive;
  • $ 1 million for county compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • $ 1,018 million to design and build softball shelters ($ 288,000) and to renovate and replace the existing track ($ 730,000) in the Field of Dreams;
  • $ 500,000 for a new LCPS solar project;
  • $ 3.3 million in enriching learning opportunities for LCPS students, including vocational, technical and early childhood education;
  • $ 1.7 million to rebuild an interior wall of Zia Middle School;
  • $ 5 million to remodel the Highland Elementary School and Lynn Middle School kitchens – $ 2.5 million each;
  • $ 5.65 million in emergency funds and land purchases. The money will help pay unforeseen expenses on loan projects, including material price increases, and to buy land for future needs of the school district, which Ramos said could potentially include a new elementary school on East Mesa;
  • $ 4.1 million for roof renovations at César Chávez Elementary Schools ($ 2.1 million) and Hermosa Heights ($ 2 million);
  • $ 1,375 million for security fences ($ 880,000), intercoms ($ 145,000) and security doors ($ 350,000), including $ 80,000 each for fences at César Chávez, Doña Ana, Sunrise, University elementary schools Hills and Valley View; $ 120,000 for fencing at Hermosa Heights, Hillrise, Mesilla, and Mesilla Park Elementary Schools; $ 32,000 each for intercoms in Mesilla and Mesilla Park Elementary Schools; $ 73,000 for intercoms in the Central Elementary; $ 8,000 for intercoms at Lynn Middle School; and $ 350,000 for security doors at Mayfield High School.
  • $ 350,000 for a bus loop at Zia Middle School.

The second yes-no question from LCPS on the 2021 local election ballot asked voters to agree to the renewal of a $ 2 million capital improvement levy, which provides funds to pay for maintenance, school equipment, playground improvements, classroom furnishings, and other district-wide projects.

The mill tax, also known as SB (Senate Bill) 9, has to be approved by the voters every six years.

Visit www.studentsfirst.vote.

Gadsden Independent School District, which also includes schools in Doña Ana and Otero counties, has a $ 38 million GO bond issue when it votes on Nov. 2. More information can be found at https://bit.ly/3iiiLh2. You can find it on GISD’s Facebook page at GadsdenISD by scrolling down to “October 1st at 10:00 AM”. Also visit www.gisd.k12.nm.us.

Public schools in Hatchtal, with schools in northern Doña Ana County, is seeking voter approval for a US $ 1.8 million GO bond. Visit www.hatchschools.net and scroll down for the HVPS Bond Vote 2021 flyer.

Only qualified voters in each school district can vote on that school district’s bond issues.

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