Schools set to ask voters to approve funding measures

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UNM-LA and LAPS to split cost of campaign expenses

By Carol A. Clark

Early next year, UNM-Los Alamos will ask voters to approve a two mil levy. It’s the first time in 29 years the college has asked the community for this kind of help and they need it desperately to augment reduced operational funding.

At the same time, Los Alamos Public Schools will seek voter approval for a much needed six-year extension of an existing bond.

Because the two entities are each feeling the economic pinch, they have agreed through their respective boards to join forces in order to save money in their election efforts.

A major savings will be realized in splitting the $25,000 county clerk fee. Additional money will be saved as well through the sharing of public education campaign costs.

“I think it will be a good partnership and we will save as least $12,500,” UNM-LA Advisory Board Chair Marie Chiravalle said during Monday’s board meeting at the student center.

LAPS Business Services Manager John Wolfe attended the meeting and explained that if the advisory board approved the motion, both the school bond question and the college mil levy question would appear on a single ballot.

“We’ve been working with Dr. Page (Cedric) and Lisa (Clough) since our school board approved the joint election at our Oct. 22 meeting.

“The County Clerk’s Office will mail out the ballots Jan. 11,” Wolfe said “and voters will have until Feb. 2 to return the ballots to the clerk’s office.”

Advisory Board members approved the motion 4-0 to hold a joint election. Member Michael Wismer was absent.

A coin toss set to occur in the near future will determine which entity gets top billing on the ballot, he said.

The school’s current bond expires June 30. Taxes will not increase if voters approve the extension, Wolfe said, adding that passage of the bond will allow the schools to continue renovations and upgrades throughout the district.

Property owners would see a $52.67 tax increase per $100,000 assessed value with passage of the mil levy.

UNM’s Board of Regents is voting today on the mil levy and then the college will file a resolution with the county clerk’s office by Tuesday, UNM-LA Executive Director Cedric Page said.

“Once the clerk determines everything to be in order then the election must be held within 60 days,” Page said.

UNM-LA Resource Manager Lisa Clough explained that a proclamation must be completed at least 50 days before the election and also must be published a couple of times during that time frame as well.

School and college board members are busy lining up speaking opportunities throughout the community in an effort to educate voters on the reasons behind the upcoming election.

Board member Nelson Hoffman will be interviewed on KRSN AM 1490 Thursday morning. 

Chiravalle is scheduled to lead a mil levy PowerPoint presentation during a Kiwanis Club luncheon Dec. 8 at Trinity on the Hill Church.

For additional information, access www.la.unm.edu.

The next UNM-LA Advisory Board meeting is set for 5:30 p.m., Jan. 11 in the student center.