Superintendent responds

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the questions that were posed by Don Willerton in the Jan. 8th edition of the Monitor.

• The Board did not “write off six million dollars in missing money.”  The audit for SY 06-07 indicated that a system was not in place to track and inventory our fixed assets which were valued at approximately $6 million. However, a system is now in place and our audit for SY 07-08 reflects the inventory tracking our fixed assets.  None of these assets were missing.

• The age of our buildings and the type of materials used in their construction directly impact their condition. Over the years LAPS has received awards for the maintenance of our facilities. Maintenance cannot improve our wheelchair access or the heating and cooling of the high school or the lighting, heating and condition of portable school buildings

• The study that was conducted on our buildings leading to the 20-year plan and the decision to have a bond election happened before the economic downturn. Even in this economic downturn, we are in a more favorable position to receive substantial monetary assistance from the state to rebuild B, C and D wings at the high school, to build permanent classrooms at the middle school and to rebuild the classroom wing at Aspen because these building have been identified by state studies as inadequate. We must be bonded to capacity to benefit from the funding that, by state statute, is available to Los Alamos at this time.

• The schools will not receive revenue from Airport Basin.  It will receive revenues from the Trinity Redevelopment project which will amount to about $500,000 a year. We anticipate the revenue to begin about four years from now. It would take 80 years to save the $40 million needed for these three projects. The schools do not receive gross receipts tax.

• The Los Alamos Public Schools – all seven of them – have made a commitment to continuous improvement. The administrators and teachers in union with the Board of Education have set a goal to be a premier school district.  To this end we have collected data from nationally recognized school districts across the country to set the benchmarks for our improvement plan. 

Mr. Willerton is correct, buildings don’t make a school system great – but they support the instructional program and the curriculum and contribute to great schools. Access, lighting, heating and cooling, space to work in groups contribute to success in the classroom. Pride in ones school flows over to pride in the learning that takes place in the school. 

Los Alamos