School district mill tax issue explained at LWV Candidates Forum by Acting LAPS Superintendent. Jennifer Guy – Journalist from Los Alamos

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BY MAYOR O’NEILL
[email protected]

Acting Superintendent of Los Alamos Public Schools. Jennifer Guy took the opportunity of Wednesday’s League of Voters’ virtual forum to explain the importance of the school district’s Mill Levy question on the Nov. 2 local election ballot.

The question will appear on the ballot as follows:

Will the Los Alamos Public School District continue to impose a property tax of $ 3,246 for residential and non-residential properties per $ 1,000 of net assessed value of property allocated to the Los Alamos Public School District for children? property tax years 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025? 2026 and 2027 for the purpose of (I) erecting, renovating, making additions, providing equipment or furnishing public school buildings, including housing for teachers and pre-school classrooms. kindergarten; 2 ° payments made under a financing agreement for the rental of an immovable or other immovable with an option to purchase at a reduced price based on the payments made; (3) the purchase or improvement of public school grounds; (4) the purchase of activity vehicles for transporting students to and from extracurricular school activities; (5) administer the projects undertaken in accordance with Sections 1 and 3 above, including expenses for facility maintenance software, project management software, project monitoring and district personnel specifically related to the ‘administration of projects funded by the Law on Public School Buildings provided that the expenditure under this section shall not exceed five percent of the total cost of the project; and (6) the purchase and installation of educational technological improvements, excluding the salary expenses of school district employees, but including the tools used in the educational process which constitute learning and administrative resources?

Guy explained that the ballot issue calls for maintaining the current tax rate of 3.246% for the next six years.

“I wanted to make sure everyone understood what this essential funding is used for in Los Alamos public schools. We use this funding to pay for repairs to school buildings and for emergencies such as if there is a plumbing leak, if there are necessary renovations. We use this money to maintain and maintain our buildings. We use this money for furniture, to help teachers in the classrooms with the things they need, ”she said. “We also use that money for things like computers, Chromebooks, and laptops. When we switched to online education in March 2020, one of the ways we were able to do it successfully in Los Alamos was all thanks to this tax law. This money allowed us to make sure that every student in the neighborhood had access to computers and could take them home. “

Guy said this money supports playground equipment.

“We recently set up a play area at Mountain Elementary School for our preschoolers and although kindergarten funded part of the play area, we were able to complete the project with this expense stream. We plan to make improvements to the playground at Barranca Mesa Primary School if we can continue with this, ”she said.

Guy said when she recently asked directors why they thought this expense stream was important to them, each director in the district identified it as critical to their operations.

“We are grateful to the community for supporting our children and for supporting learning and teaching in our schools. This money is not limited to school buildings. This money is for a lot of the things we do in our schools. It pays for the software to support learning. If your child is doing something on a computer or accessing something online, they have most likely been paid for with this funding, ”she said.

School board candidate Rick Mooday asked if the tax rate had been 3.246% for a few iterations or if there had been any consideration of raising or lowering it. Guy replied that the rate had been the same for several election cycles and that there had been no discussion to increase it.

“It will continue at the same pace. We are simply asking that the current rate be maintained, ”she said.

When asked if the money would be used to build the new building at Chamisa Primary School, Guy replied that in fact it would not be used for that purpose. “

Voters were very generous in Los Alamos County and passed a bond election that will support the construction of Chamisa and Pinon schools. If we are able to continue this funding, this money will supplement certain things at the building. I’ll give you an example from Barranca Mesa Elementary. Although we were able to build a nice school in Barranca, they have land and there is no grass, there is not a lot of playground equipment. They are in desperate need of a school. upgrade those things, so we can use that money to top up some of the things we couldn’t have done, ”Guy said.

She said that while the district will build a beautiful school that will be operational, it will have none of the extras that students and parents depend on around the school and that our community relies on to make the facilities the best they can be. .

When asked if the money would be used to fencing school zones, Guy said there are currently no plans to use this funding for the fence.

“We have money for state security. Going forward, if this was an issue and we needed to top up the funding, this is something we could take to the school board or our parent committees to discuss. Currently our fencing plans that we have have been provided with state security money, ”Guy said.

When asked if the measure was not passed would tax levels go down, Guy replied that taxes would go down by the amount that taxpayers are currently being asked to keep paying.

“Our services and our ability to support students would also decline. We would have less availability to provide students with the technologies, facilities, furniture and things that they need, ”she said.

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