Voters to decide $630M mill levy, bond package for APS - Albuquerque Journal

Voters to decide $630M mill levy, bond package for APS

In-person absentee voting for the Nov. 2 local election is underway at the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Annex, as voters cast ballots Tuesday. The annex, 1500 Lomas NW, will continue offering in-person absentee voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through Oct. 15. Voters wanting an absentee ballot sent to them can find an application online at BernCoVotes.org or call 505-243-8683. Widespread in-person early voting begins Oct. 16. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

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Albuquerque Public Schools is asking voters to approve a general obligation bond and a mill levy package that would yield $630 million in capital spending over a six-year period.

But the bond and mill levy questions on November’s ballot would not result in an increase in taxes if approved, according to the district.

Kizito Wijenje, APS master plan executive director, said that instead of a tax rate increase there will be a “continuation of the existing tax rate.”

The bond question asks voters to approve a $200 million bond for school building construction, school grounds improvements, purchasing computer software and hardware for students and for providing matching funds for capital outlay projects.

The new mill levy would collect $430 million in taxes over six years.

However, Wijenje said property taxes could decrease if voters don’t OK the mill levy, since the ballot measure would replace a previous mill levy passed in 2016 that is set to expire this year.

If approved, the mill levy will keep the tax rate at $3.838 for every $1,000 of net taxable value of residential property and $4.344 for each $1,000 of net taxable value of nonresidential property, he said.

The net taxable value is equal to one-third of the property’s assessed value.

For a home valued at $300,000 this would equate to $383.80 in property taxes going to APS.

If the package is approved, nearly $300 million would fund construction projects at 19 schools – with schools like Eldorado High School, Van Buren Middle School and Harrison Middle School all slated to receive more than $30 million each.

A project overview list provided by APS shows that funds would be used to design and construct phases of a total school replacement.

According to APS, other high priority projects include upgrade improvements for eCademy and online school and construction funds for La Mesa Elementary School, Desert Ridge Middle School and Whittier Elementary School.

Money would also fund districtwide capital projects with $110 million slated to fund classroom educational technology, $28 million for construction contingencies, portable classrooms and property acquisitions and $12.5 million for school security and safety.

Charter schools would receive about $69 million.

Wijenje said approving the bond and mill levy packaging will provide money for “much needed repairs or improvements at existing schools,” and every school, including charter schools, “will benefit from the passage of the mill levy and bond election.”

Election day is Nov. 2, absentee voting begins Oct. 5 and early voting is underway and runs to Oct. 30.

In addition to the bond and mill levy package, voters will also vote on four open APS Board of Education seats – districts 3, 5, 6 and 7.

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