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UNM-LA learns a lesson

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Board will take initial steps to pursue another mil levy question

By Kirsten Laskey

Whenever a mistake or a miscalculation occurs, there is always an opportunity to learn from it. The University of New Mexico- Los Alamos Advisory Board is determined to pay attention to the lessons gained from this year’s failed mil levy election.

During its regular meeting Monday night, the board agreed to take initial steps to pursue another mil levy question. Only this time, the board is determined to do it right.

Board member Nelson Hoffman encouraged the board to go after another mil levy.

Board chairwoman Marie Chiravalle said she would only give her support to a new mil levy question, if  the campaign for it was done correctly.

She argued that a leader needs to be identified for the mil levy campaign, a steering committee needs to be formed and the college needs to gain some focus in its rally for a mil levy.

“You can’t run this campaign without that,” Chiravalle said.

She further recommended that a presentation be created that is polished and concise and fundraising be held to support the campaign.

Additionally, Chiravalle said she would like to see a publicity committee formed to create ideas, flyers, advertising, mailings and a slogan.

There needs to be a buy-in from the faculty and students.

“We

can’t run this campaign with five people,” Chiravalle said.

UNM-LA should also get out in the community and have a presence at different events such as fairs and parades.

If the college proves it’s up to the task, she said, then she’ll support it.

Hoffman added they needed to show that it is not business as usual at the college. The budget for the college has been cut and despite raising tuition, the college doesn’t see a dime of that money.

He added he thought a committee would be a great resource for keeping UNM-LA and its finances on people’s radar.

“We need to keep the ball rolling,” Hoffman said. “This is too big of an issue to die away.”

Several administrators agreed with Hoffman. Dean Kate Massengale said she supported a faculty committee and would work to contact instructors about the committee as well as volunteer on it herself.

As a result, Board Secretary Micheline Devaurs made a motion to direct UNM-LA staff to proceed with ground work to investigate a mill levy question and have the authority to call a special meeting prior to the September board meeting.

Advisory board members agreed the special meeting should be held in July.

Executive Director Cedric Page told the Monitor after the meeting he thought the board was taking a step in the right direction.

“I think (the mil levy) is still fresh in people’s minds,” he said. “There’s certainly a percentage of voters who felt very positive of what we’re doing but as we (discovered) the cost … was more than what they could justify.”

However, Page said he is “optimistic that as the message is given …over the next six months (people) will be more favorable to support us through a mil levy increase.”

He added the college will take the time it needs to go to groups and individuals and share its story.