Setting the Record Straight on the School Bond: Rationale for an All-Mail Ballot
By Gene Schmidt
Over the last two weeks, I have been following an interesting conversation in the Los Alamos Daily Post about the timing of the school bond election.
At least one writer wondered aloud why the bond election was not tied to the general election last November.
Another wondered why the district chose to run an all-mail ballot that costs taxpayers up to $30,000 – money that might have been saved had the School Board chosen to run it as part of the general election last November.
In order to set the record straight, I would like to offer these thoughts:
In fact, our bond council stated that the School Board had two choices to present this to the public. Those choices were an all-mail ballot in January as a stand-alone question or to combine the bond election with the walk-in election for White Rock School Board members Feb. 5, 2013.
In contrast to one of the contributors to the Los Alamos Daily Post, our bond council did not feel that the Board could constitutionally present it to the community as part of the general election.
To reach the largest possible audience, the Board chose to submit an all-mail ballot to registered voters in Los Alamos County as a stand-alone election in January because the walk-in voter turnout for Board elections is traditionally small and there was the added concern that only School Board members from White Rock were up for election.
In effect, the Board’s motivation was to create a wider voter participation in the question about building better schools and brighter futures for our students.
To be as transparent as possible to voters, the Board chose the bond question as an all-mail ballot. Yes, as one commentator stated, this all-mail ballot costs the district somewhere between $25,000 and 30,000.
As a community, it is appropriate to ask the question about whether this is money well spent. The Board felt that a bond was an important enough question that justified the expense of the all-mail ballot in an effort to reach a broader voter base.
In offering these thoughts, it is my hope that the taxpayers and community will have a greater appreciation for the decision by the Board to encourage registered voters to participate through the simplicity of the all-mail ballot process.
In closing, voters are reminded to have their ballot returned to the County Clerk by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 for your vote to be counted.
Your vote is important because it helps determine whether or not the school district shall continue on its stated goal of improving the quality of our facilities through a modernization long-range plan.