Letter To The Editor: UNM-LA Provides Important Value To Our Community

Los Alamos

In the next few days, Los Alamos residents will receive a ballot in the mail asking them to support education in our community. The need to continue upgrading our elementary school buildings is self-evident; so is the need for UNM-LA to improve its finances. We hope you will vote in the affirmative to support both questions.

Other letters have explained in more detail and more authoritatively than we can the precarious financial state of our local branch of UNM. Let us remind ourselves of the value that UNM-LA provides to our community.

Our three sons graduated from LAHS, and all three of them took classes at UNM-LA. These classes gave them a good (and eye-opening) preview of the rigors of a college class, and gave them a head start by transferring credits to their eventual college.

Our children were fortunate in that they were ready for college, but we all have friends whose children were not ready for, or uncertain about college as their next step. Taking classes at UNM-LA gave them a taste of this option, and also let them consider alternative career options, such as EMS, health services, public safety, and general business skills. We can all agree that giving our children as many career and educational options as possible as they near high school graduation provides them the best likelihood of finding a satisfying and successful job. Let’s make sure that the UNM option is available to them.

There are many other reasons why a vibrant UNM-LA is important to our community. Seniors can take low cost college classes, we can learn a new language or a new subject among others who share our interests, children’s college programs for our young ones provide exciting alternatives to the summer doldrums.

All this benefit, however, comes at a cost. The revenue from this levy (which will cost us about what we spend at Ruby K’s or Starbucks) will go directly to the day-to-day costs of this branch college. The faculty at UNM has been very successful in attracting grants to support program start-up; let’s make sure that these programs are sustainable in the long term.

Our community has been very supportive of education before, and we have a new high school, middle school, and elementary school to show for it, as well as other improvements across our school district. We see supporting UNM-LA as another mechanism by which we can use our taxes to directly benefit our community and our schools. Having a strong educational environment for our children directly impacts our quality of life, and is a key reason why our home values are so much higher than those of surrounding communities, so, whether we have children in school or not, we benefit from UNM-LA.

We urge you to find out more about this upcoming election and discuss what you learn with your friends and neighbors. We are confident that once you become fully informed of the value of UNM-LA to our community, you will share in our support.