SANTA FE – In a classic last-minute campaign tactic, anonymous fliers opposing a proposed $100 million bond issue for Santa Fe schools showed up in mailboxes here over the weekend, just ahead of Tuesday’s election day.
In a statement Sunday, Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Veronica Garcia described the mailers, which have no statement identifying who paid for them or sent them out, as financed by “dark money.” She said postal permit numbers appear to show the mailers were sent from Albuquerque.
“The flier contains false information that could possibly mislead the residents of Santa Fe,” Garcia said. “The anonymous source behind the flier is attempting to influence our upcoming GO (general obligation) Bond election using incomplete or inaccurate information. We are currently looking into the legality of these unattributed campaign materials.”
The large postcard size flier says “governments have an insatiable appetite for money” and that if voters don’t reject the bond issue, “they will be back in a few years” asking for more. It also challenges the need for some of the bond issue projects, says the district has been on a “building spree.”
The bond proposal includes a property tax increase for homeowners living within the boundaries of the SFPS district for facility improvements, water savings and solar projects and the construction of a new middle school.
If the bonds are approved, property taxes for a home with a market value of $300,000 would increase by about $6.67 per month, or $80 per year.
Garcia noted that bonds are the only method the district has for paying for school improvements and said that $260 million in needs were “whittled down” to the $100 million in projects that the proposal on the ballot Tuesday would finance.
“I invite whomever is responsible for the flier to meet with me,” Garcia said. “It is my hope that this anonymous group (or individual) will come out of the shadows and engage in a discussion of the issues.”