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In January of 2009, the Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) will hold a bond election. For the first time in a decade, the school district staff is asking voters to consider an increase in the mill rate. This increase in taxes to property owners will fund renovations to aging school facilities.
As always when large capital projects are being considered, voters have questions about the safeguards and assurances in place to protect the intention of the funding. With the first couple of bond issues in 1998 and 2000, the bond funds were assigned to as many projects as possible and no contingency funding was put in place.
As a result of unanticipated factors and costs exceeding estimates, all of the proposed bond projects could not be completed. In subsequent bonds, industry-standard contingencies at around 20 percent have been included, in order to provide for unforeseen costs.
With recommendations from the LAPS Facilities Planning Committee and professional advice from Architectural Research Consultants, LAPS school board now has in place the 20 year Facilities Plan. Using this document, the board is responsible for approving the proposed capital improvement projects and timeline.
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