Over the last eight years, more than 114 Albuquerque Public School facility upgrade and construction projects – including projects for public charter schools – that are funded by voter-approved mill levy/bond measures have been completed. These projects have been designed by local architectural and engineering firms and built by local construction firms using local skilled workers.
In addition to providing safe and supportive learning and working environments for our students and teachers, funding from this election and resulting construction activities will provide a welcome and needed economic boost to our community. This taxpayer-approved funding will go toward wages, service contracts and material purchases, which will cycle back into our local economy every month. This represents thousands of construction- and building-related jobs, as well as the indirect income to other Albuquerque businesses from these funds. This will allow continued employment opportunities to skilled, local workers who support their families and areas’ businesses with their wages. APS construction has also served as a sea wall of sorts, protecting our community from sinking even deeper into the economic recession followed by a tepid recovery that has hit our state and community especially hard over the last eight years.
As business owners and employers, we are acutely aware of the need to balance fiscal responsibility and sustainable business practices within our own organizations and our own communities. We are immensely proud of being New Mexico businesses committed to providing well-paying local jobs to our fellow citizens and families. We have always considered it our responsibility not only to design and construct the best and safest school facilities, but also to give the taxpayers – our fellow citizens – the best value for their investment.
Tax increases are never easy. We believe that all taxpayer-funded project proposals should be doubly scrutinized and rigorously vetted through prioritized, rational and publicly transparent processes before being approved. We know that the APS Capital Master Plan process meets all of the above criteria and has, over the years, produced equitable and cost-effective school facilities for taxpayers and all our children across the district.
School facilities and similar institutional buildings are designed to last or 40 to 50 years with stringent life safety measures and high durability criteria for building materials systems. Therefore, they typically cost more than general commercial buildings. All APS taxpayer-funded construction projects are publicly bid, awarded by the Board of Education and subject to N.M. state procurement rules, including yearly independent audits. All project construction activity and costs are public information that is easily retrievable and verifiable from APS or the APS website: http://www.aps.edu/community/mail-in-election/rebuilt-and-repaired.
As design and construction professionals, we are held accountable by the district and by the state Procurement Code to provide design and construction services to meet these standards and remain within the specified time and budget allocations.
We respectfully ask all our fellow community members to review the resources listed here, to consider the facts and then to make their decision. Hopefully you will arrive at the same decision we have – that a vote of ‘Yes’ on all three ballot issues will be a win for this entire community – not only for our children’s safety and education, but also for our economic well-being.
For more information go to http://www.abqschoolvote.org/.
Cynthia Schultz and Doug Majewski belong to YES for Our Children’s Future, which promotes APS capital mill levy and bond elections.