Letter To The Editor: Facts About HB33

By MORRIE PONGRATZ
Former County Councilor/former School Board member

One of the frustrations during my years on the School Board was that all school district operational funds are allocated by the state on a per-pupil basis, regardless of local cost-of-living. Teachers are paid from the operational fund.

We cannot vote to increase the funding for teacher’s pay, but our community’s continuing support of the property tax referendum, HB33, means that major maintenance, activity buses, ADA compliance, athletic supplies and equipment, music instruments, and district computer hardware and network equipment need not come from the operational fund.

I believe that the quality of our schools, the health of the laboratory and the asset value of our houses are very closely linked. Hampering the lab’s ability to hire the best and the brightest can cost me way more in asset value than the dollar a day I pay via this referendum! 

And, oh by the way, according to 2010 Census Bureau data Los Alamos ranks 16th in the state in the percentage of school funds coming from the federal government; we’re tied with the Pojoaque school district at 25.5 percent of our funds coming from the feds. I was surprised to see that we get a smaller percentage of our money from the feds than neighboring districts Jemez Valley, Bernalillo and Las Vegas West.

Please don’t succumb to the “kick the cat/dog” syndrome and vote against the Referendum because a separate governmental entity, the County Council, voted (mistakenly, in my opinion) to raise tax rates last year.

This Referendum has been the primary funding source for all student technology and major maintenance improvement projects throughout the district for nearly 20 years. A vote in favor of the referendum does not increase property tax rates. 

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