LAPS Board Of Education Discusses Possible Renovation Of White Rock Schools

Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus points to a poster describing how the Los Alamos Public Schools has kept its promises to the public in its use of past bond funding. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

Los Alamos Daily Post

The Los Alamos School Board discussed possible building projects for 2020 and beyond to be funded through a GO Bond election and state matching funds Tuesday at its Regular School Board Meeting.

Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus pointed out that time is relatively short, since the school district has decided to combine its bond election with the November 2020 School Board Election rather than holding the bond election later,  in order to reduce costs for mounting the election.

The state matching funds for building projects is being reduced each year, Steinhaus said. Funding for fiscal year 2020 is 61 percent from the local district and 39 percent in state matching funds. The state’s share will be reduced each year for the next five years to a low point of 94 percent local funding and 6 percent in state matching funds in FY 2024.

The New Mexico Public Education Department examines and grades school facilities and chooses projects for matching funds based on its findings.

“Based on the formula, Chamisa has the best chance of getting state matching funds,” Steinhaus said. “Pinon is the next most likely.”

A consensus to concentrate on the renovation of the White Rock elementary schools quickly developed among Board members.

“We should go for both schools,” Board Secretary Jennifer McCumber said. “Let’s do it now to avoid the state reductions in funding.”

Board Vice President Stephen Boerigter made a motion to declare that Chamisa and Pinon schools are the priority for the GO Bond election.

It passed unanimously.

Many of the details concerning the project or projects and the Go Bond election remain to be ironed out at the July 16 School Board Meeting when the Preliminary Facilities Master Plan Report will be presented to the Board. In addition, more data on future housing development in White Rock will be available by then, Steinhaus said.

Because time is so short, Board President Ellen Ben-Naim suggested holding one public meeting and taking comments on the proposed projects via email and the Los Alamos Public Schools website before the election.

Many meetings will be held to create the education plan for the chosen project or projects, Steinhaus assured the Board.