Letter To The Editor: How Does Los Alamos Compare In Supporting Higher Education? We’re The Cheapest!

By MORRIE PONGRATZ
Former County Councilor and former School Board member

How does Los Alamos compare to other New Mexico communities in their support for local higher education? We’re the cheapest.

You can go to the website: http://nmdfa.state.nm.us/Certificate_of_Property_Tax.aspx and double check my research. I examined the percentage of a resident’s property tax bill that went to support the college in their city.

Here’s the list of the cities and the percentage of their property taxes that goes to support their local college:

  • Gallup (16.9 percent for UNM-G);
  • Farmington (16.9 percent for SJC);
  • Santa Fe (15.4 percent for SFCC);
  • Taos (10.8 percent for UNM-T);
  • Socorro (9.4 percent for UNM-V);
  • Albuquerque (9.1 percent for CNM);
  • Las Vegas (8.2 percent for LCC);
  • Los Lunas (8.1 precent for UNM-V); and
  • (drum roll) Los Alamos (4.1 percent for UNM-LA). No wonder as Patrick Soran wrote, “…one of our jewels is under assault.”

This “jewel” (UNM-LA) provides Los Alamos with many benefits, including benefits that directly benefit our older citizens like me – Emergency Medical Service (EMS), Fire Science, Personal Care Attendant, and Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). Also UNM-LA serves our younger citizens as 299 LAHS students took dual-credit courses last year. That is more than the enrollment in the senior class at LAHS!

I like to think of supporting education as an investment. Of course, educating students is certainly a long-term investment in the future, but I’m thinking more selfishly. For many of us the best investment we ever made was to become a homeowner. Knowing that I’d get the money back in spades when I sell my house, I would willingly spend an extra $100 a year on my $300,000 house buying a new roof, landscaping, new windows, a new carpet, etc. Likewise, I think that spending $200 on UNM-LA makes Los Alamos more attractive and I’ll surely get that money back when I (or my heirs) sell my house.

I’m checking the “For” circle on my UNM-LA ballot; maybe we can make Los Lunas the cheapest…

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