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Time to fix schools is now

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

 

We are responding to the Jan. 6 letter from Richard Hannemann titled, “There is no hurry for bond.”   Richard states, “We have already seen, far too often in the past year, what happens when programs and expenditures get pushed forward too fast and too hard, in a need for speed that has no objective foundation.”  

 

While it may appear that the Bond Election has moved ahead quickly, planning and preparation for this election began 2 ½ years ago. At the time the board formed a committee of community members and staff with expertise in building and construction.  

 

This committee represented Facilities, Civil and Structural Engineers with a proven track record in planning and construction. They produced a plan that prioritized facility needs across the district. It was determined that Los Alamos High School, the middle school and Aspen School had major issues that require immediate attention.

 

The district consulted with its financial advisors to formulate the plan for replacing and repairing our buildings. The only way to acquire the funding is through a General Obligation Bond Election.

 

The conclusions the LAPS facilities committee drew concur with the study by the Public School Facilities Authority (PSFA) of all public school facilities in New Mexico. The Los Alamos High School buildings are ranked the 27th WORST in the state; LAMS ranks 50th and Aspen School ranks 51st among 750 schools.

 

This is good news because it means that, if we are bonded to capacity, we are in line for some substantial financial support from the PSFA. Interest rates are lower when we sell our GO Bonds and construction costs appear to be declining.

 

The longer we wait to rebuild B, C and D wings at the high school, a new classroom wing and enlarged gym and multi-purpose room at LAMS and classrooms at Aspen the more we will be forced to throw money down the drain in our attempts to keep these facilities up and running.  

 

There is never a perfect time to ask a community to raise taxes, but we just cannot afford to wait any longer.  Los Alamos’ total property tax rate is currently 30th out of 33 counties in New Mexico. Districts with new facilities that support 21st century learning have paid for their facilities by being bonded to capacity. This is the goal we must achieve in our current election. 

 

Los Alamos Schools