Letter To The Editor: Thank Goodness Election Season’s Over … Isn’t It?

By JIM HALL, President
Los Alamos School Board

No, no, not quite. The Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) needs citizens to vote in January.

Every four years LAPS asks Los Alamos citizens to recommit to rebuilding our schools by renewing LAPS General Obligation (GO) bonds. The vote for renewal is in January. Resulting fundswill continue to address a historical anomaly—all LAPS schools were built about the same time, and as a result, they all need major upgrades about the same time. 

Because of community generosity, LAPS has used these GO bond funds from past elections to rebuild most of the High School, the Middle School, and Aspen elementary. Results have been remarkable: transformation of tired 1950’s buildings into modern educational spaces. The philosophy has been simple and successful: keep what can be effectively remodeled and replace what cannot. As a result, all projects have come in within budget and either on time or very near on time.

If approved, most 2017 GO bond dollars will remodel and rebuild Barranca Mesa School. Remaining funds will keep our older schools in good working order and provide a needed upgrade to Sullivan field—both a high school and community resource. The LAPS website (http://laschools.net/Page/9734) describes projects. LAPS is happy to arrange tours for groups to see how tax money has been, and will be, used: call 505.662.2230.

Now, mechanics. Voters will receive a mail-in ballot in early January. Two questions are on the ballot.   One is to renew the GO bonds for LAPS capital projects (due to State law, school districts cannot fund operational expenses–e.g., salaries–from local revenues). A “YES” vote will NOT result in increased taxes. The ballot must be received in the Clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Jan. 24 — not postmarked on Jan. 24, but received. 

The second ballot question will provide additional funding for the Los Alamos branch of UNM (UNM-LA).  Future articles by UNMLA staff and supporters will describe how approval of their requested funding will improveUNMLA programs and UNMLA contributions to the community.

In summary, I ask for your “YES” vote to continue upgrades to LAPS school facilities. LAPS has promised to use your tax money wisely: it has done soin the past and will continue to do so. Results will improve the quality of Los Alamos education and our students, staff, and parents deserve our continued support.