Letter To The Editor: UNM-LA Mil Levy – An Investment Now And For The Future

By Dr. Sheila Schiferl
Los Alamos

We moved here in 1977, and I took FORTRAN at the UNM branch. Later, our college poetry class included the town library director, a dean of instruction, several lab scientists and tech writers, and some retired community members. It also included a few “traditional” teenage college students, each with a spark that the rest of us tried to help grow.

What an amazing idea. Here is a school that has been integrating itself into the community, and vice versa, for decades. In the late 1990’s, X-Division encouraged its scientists to teach classes at UNM-LA. I taught pre-algebra and beginning algebra to a group of people from Metzger’s, and we had a nice, loud, enthusiastic time learning to work story problems together.  

Until I came to Los Alamos, I had only a handful of really good teachers. Then I went to UNM-LA, which had dozens of fabulous teachers. There is now a financial shortfall, and they’ve been laying off staff, teachers, grant writers – eating their seed corn. Given oil prices, state financial support is likely to fall even more.

Part of UNM-LA’s function is to help grow employment and expertise, offering fire science, technology, medical, and even marketing programs, as well as preparing students for advanced study. Right now they need to rebuild their staff. Beyond that are more possibilities: movie technology, culinary school, various medical technologies – if they can expand. Think of the mil levy as an investment for now, and for the future.

On a more mundane note, a better economic climate is likely to maintain and even increase our property values. I am voting yes on the UNM-LA mil levy.

Editor’s note: Dr. Sheila Schiferl is a candidate for position 5 on the UNM-LA Advisory Board. She is a retired physicist, and a musician.