Vote 'yes' on Santa Fe school funding proposals - Albuquerque Journal

Vote ‘yes’ on Santa Fe school funding proposals

Santa Fe’s Milagro Middle School was among the projects funded in part by past bonds and a mill levy backed by property taxes that voters approved. Renewals of $100 million in bonds and a mill levy for the schools are on the Nov. 2 ballot. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

While Santa Fe’s mayoral election has become increasingly nasty, there’s one issue on the Nov. 2 ballot – with early voting already underway – that everybody should be able to rally around and support.

That issue is making sure that local students have good buildings and up-to-date equipment in order to provide the best learning environments possible.

The Santa Fe school district has two funding measures before voters. No new property tax increases are proposed, although tax rates would go down a bit if voters say ‘no’ to the funding proposals.

One of the ballot measures would authorize issuance of $100 million in general obligation bonds, pitched as renewal of a similarly sized bond in 2017.

Some of the bigger projects slated for bond money include a $22.5 million rebuild/expansion of Mandela International Magnet School; $16.4 million for a new commons area, drop-off zone and breezeway at Santa Fe High School; and more than $14 million in spending at the Early College Opportunities High School, the district’s vocational, trades and early college credit school that needs to expand, with a building for core academic programs and a cafeteria/gym.

Capital High School would get a new roof, Sweeney Elementary is in line for upgrades to security, restrooms, the drop-off area and its electrical system, and Ortiz Middle School would see more than $5 million in overall renovation. An estimated $23.5 million goes to various districtwide projects, including $4.7 million in such sustainability efforts as solar power and water conservation.

While no new taxes are needed to back the GO bonds, the impact on tax rates should the bonds be rejected has been hard to nail down. A ballpark estimate might be something in the neighborhood of $80 a year on a house with a market value of $300,000, which was the tax increase approved for district’s 2017 bond issue, also totaling $100 million.

The other ballot proposal, known as the House Bill 33 Mill Levy, would renew a 1.5 mill property tax, or $1.50 on every $1,000 of taxable value. On a $300,000 home, where taxable value is $100,000, that means $150 a year.

The state-authorized tax raises about $9 million a year for Santa Fe schools, and helps pay for school maintenance, custodial services, repairs, playground equipment and fencing. Funds go to every school in the district, including charter schools.

District officials say the mill-levy money gives the district flexibility to respond to emergencies and that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it paid for such safety improvements as plexiglass barriers, disinfecting machines, HEPA air purifiers, outdoor learning spaces and upgraded HVAC filters.

More than $2.5 million in new money on the ballot is targeted at creating more outdoor learning spaces and improving playgrounds. Nothing on the funding list sounds unnecessary, or like a luxury.

After a big boost in graduation rates last year, the Santa Fe schools still have a long way to go to get academic performance up where everyone wants it, particularly in math and reading proficiency. Providing decent facilities and equipment for students and staff is one way taxpayers can help continue the progress toward achieving Santa Fe’s public education goals.


Here are the Journal North’s endorsements for the four Santa Fe City Council seats on the Nov. 2 election ballot:

District 1: Incumbent Signe Lindell, an avowed animal lover who is seeking a third four-year term. There are other good choices in this multi-candidate race, but Lindell has proven to be a intelligent councilor who puts in the time, knows what she’s talking about, adheres to no clique and, by many accounts, is responsive to constituents.

District 2: Incumbent Carol Romero-Wirth has no opponent, but she deserves an endorsement, anyway, as another smart councilor who prepares for the job. She says that, if reelected, she will emphasize creation of a sustainable fund for affordable housing, strengthening the city’s water resources and development of the city-owned Midtown Campus.

District 3: In a race with two good candidates, incumbent Roman Abeyta gets the nod, mainly because of his tireless and passionate advocacy for his south Santa Fe district. A major feather in his cap is the recent groundbreaking for a Southside teen center.

District 4: Amanda Chavez offers appropriate experience as a city planning commissioner and as a product of Santa Fe Public schools who went on to become a teacher, elementary school principal and, now, director of special education for the district. She should bring a sharp focus to the council’s discussion on how the city can better serve young people.

Home » From the newspaper » Vote ‘yes’ on Santa Fe school funding proposals


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
NM's methane rule unfair on low-producing wells
From the newspaper
Family operators will have to cap ... Family operators will have to cap hundreds of low-emitting sites early
2
Editorial: Vo-tech, welfare reform can fix our dismal worker ...
Editorials
New Mexico is in an economic ... New Mexico is in an economic rut.    It's not due to a shortage of jobs. More t ...
3
Our military veterans deserve a leg up into federal ...
From the newspaper
Let's make the most of their ... Let's make the most of their valuable skills, perspective and diversity
4
Congress invests in science and technology of future
From the newspaper
As the final days of summer ... As the final days of summer wean off their last few minutes of sunlight, kids revive their calculato ...
5
Tips to start coming back from the pandemic's isolation
From the newspaper
Wondering about the social effects of ... Wondering about the social effects of COVID-19 restrictions such as limiting gatherings, orders clos ...
6
Ethics questioned as cannabis regulators join the private sector
ABQnews Seeker
Some are unsure if the state's ... Some are unsure if the state's 'revolving door' policy indeed curbs conflicts of interest
7
County's cool with casitas
ABQnews Seeker
Bernalillo County is ready for a ... Bernalillo County is ready for a new kind of tiny home. Meanwhile, county voters in November will have their say on $40.5M worth of ...
8
Couy Griffin back in court to fight for his ...
ABQnews Seeker
Lawsuit contends that his role on ... Lawsuit contends that his role on Jan. 6 violated the 14th Amendment
9
There are many options for keeping hummingbirds happy
Arts
The first on my list of ... The first on my list of tried and true attractions will be Agastache. I know it as licorice mint hyssop.