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Superintendent's News

Posted: October 20, 2023

Investing in Our Schools

In his weekly message, Superintendent Scott Elder discusses the importance of the upcoming mill levy ballot question.

Sandia Base ES Student at Groundbreaking Event

Sandia Base ES Student at Groundbreaking Event

We’ve made great strides in recent years in upgrading school campuses throughout the city.

Students at Janet Kahn School of Integrated Arts moved into a completely rebuilt school this year. At Jackson Middle School, we recently opened a new two-story classroom block.  We’ve upgraded many HVAC systems across the district. And we’ve invested more than $41 million in fencing, cameras, and other infrastructure to keep our schools safe.

These are among hundreds of projects that would not have been possible without the generosity of voters who time and time again have come through when we’ve gone before them with a mill levy or bond question. Those investments have been huge for our schools and our students.

But there is still so much more to do to secure our schools and keep up with maintenance needs across the district. 

If you own a home you know that maintenance is a continuing issue. Heaters and air conditioners go down. Water heaters need to be replaced. Roofs begin to leak. It’s a never-ending cycle, and if you don’t take care of a problem on the front end, you end up with a bigger problem that ends up costing you even more money.

As for security upgrades, I'm sure we can all agree that there's nothing more important than keeping students safe. And one of the ways we're doing that is by fortifying our campuses.

That’s why we’re going to voters in the upcoming local election and asking them to continue supporting our schools.

The two-mill levy on the Nov. 7 ballot would generate an estimated $264.7 million for maintenance over six years, starting in tax year 2025. That translates into about $44 million a year. Some of that money would go to charter schools. 

The mill levy would be a continuation of a tax already in place, not a new one. Specifically, the measure would continue a property tax of $2 per each $1,000 of net taxable value for property within the APS district. The tax rate would remain the same.

If approved, the funding would go for such things as:

  • Maintenance at schools, including roofs, heating and cooling, and old water pipe replacement
  • More security and safety upgrades at all schools
  • Library equipment and classroom furniture
  • School information technology, including computers and learning devices for students and teachers
  • Upgrades for schools to bring them into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act
  • Artificial turf and other water and energy conservation upgrades for all schools
  • Music and fine arts instruments and equipment for all schools
  • Physical education equipment for all schools
  • Career Technical Education tools and equipment for all schools
  • Facilities and equipment funding for all APS area charter schools

We’re all working hard to improve student outcomes, and providing students and teachers with comfortable learning environments is key to that effort.

We appreciate the support voters have given us in the past, but we can’t take that support for granted. So, I’m asking you to vote. And please help me get the word out about this important ballot issue.

More information on the mill levy is available on our 2023 Capital Election page. We also have a video that provides an overview that you are welcome to share.

Early voting is already underway at the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Annex, 1500 Lomas Blvd. NW. Expanded early voting kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 21, at more than 20 locations around the county and will be available until Nov. 4. Most of those locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.