School Elections Committee Urges Voters To Approve HB33 Mill Levy

LAPS School Elections Committee members Steven Girrens, left, and Bill Wadt stopped by the Los Alamos Daily Post last week to discuss the reasons why passage of the bond is of such importance to the schools, Lab and community. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los ALamos Daily Post
 
Last week, 13,047 ballots for the Los Alamos Public Schools Special Election were mailed to registered voters. To date, 1,825 ballots have been turned in to the Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office.
 
Los Alamos School Elections Committee members Steven Girrens and Bill Wadt stopped by the Los Alamos Daily Post last Thursday to discuss their support for the continuance of HB33 Mill Levy. Among other roles in the community, Wadt serves on the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation Board and Girrens is a county councilor. So why are they taking time from their busy lives to work on this issue?
 
“It’s because of the importance of quality schools to this community,” Wadt said. “The students are our future. We owe it to them to create a quality learning environment.”
 
The School Elections Committee collects donations to pay for advertisements supporting the Levy and directly advocates for its passage, something the School District is not allowed to do, Girrens said. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”
 
Girrens and Wadt stressed that approval of the Levy will not raise property taxes. The Levy will provide more than $13 million across six years for student technology and network infrastructure. It also will provide funds for musical instruments, athletic supplies and equipment, heating and cooling projects and restroom upgrades for older buildings across the District, as well as general maintenance projects from roof repairs and handicapped ramps to improved PA systems and new fire alarm panels. 
 
Without these funds, the schools would be forced to tap into operating funds, which would deplete the resources available for paying and supporting teachers, Wadt said.
 
“This Levy pays for consumables—things that wear out,” Girrens said. Girrens also said that the most important building block for a strong Laboratory is a strong school system. Wadt agreed. The Federal Government supplies $8 million of support to the schools in Los Alamos through the Department of Energy, Wadt said, and if DOE thought the community was not supporting the schools, that $8 million could go away.
 
The Levy comes up for approval once every six years and is separate from the Levy that supports rebuilding school buildings, he said. The community has approved this Mill Levy every time it has been up for continuance since 1988.
 
Ballots for this election must be received by 7 p.m., Jan. 26 at the Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office, 1000 Central Ave. Ballots may be mailed or dropped off in person, but they must arrive by the deadline, not simply have been sent before Jan. 26. For more information on this election, contact the County Clerk’s Office at 505.662.8010 or email clerks@lacnm.us.

 

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