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News from the Superintendent

Posted: January 11, 2019

Be an Informed Voter, Mail In Your Ballot

"I am not here to tell voters how to vote. But I do feel an obligation to let you know what we are asking for. Why we believe we need this money. Why we are seeking a property tax increase," Superintendent Reedy writes in her weekly message.

Supt. Reedy and Board Member Elizabeth Armijo canvassed with Eldorado students.

Supt. Reedy and Board Member Elizabeth Armijo canvassed with Eldorado students.

In the coming days, registered voters in the APS district will be getting a ballot in the mail. They will be asked to vote on a bond/mill levy package that will help pay for $900 million in school improvements.

I am not here to tell voters how to vote. But I do feel an obligation to let you know what we are asking for. Why we believe we need this money. Why we are seeking a property tax increase.

In a word (or three): Rebuild, Repair, Refresh.

If enough voters check the yes boxes on the ballot and get it mailed back to the County Clerk by Feb. 5, we will use the much-appreciated funding to:

  • Rebuild aging schools
  • Repair buildings and grounds including safety measures and
  • Refresh technology and educational equipment, including for music and art.

Let me be clear -- money that comes from property taxes can only be used for capital projects like rebuilding schools, repairing buildings and refreshing equipment. It cannot be used for operational expenses. That funding comes from the state and pays for things like employee salaries. We've heard from several voters who would like to see us use funding from this election to raise teacher salaries. That simply is not an option. In fact, it's against the law.

What we can use the money for is technology. Computers, devices and a strong Internet connection are no longer luxuries in public education. They are critical tools for 21st-century learning, and they need to be continuously upgraded so our students can compete worldwide.

Our students also need quality tools for learning and exploring science, math, engineering, drama, music and art. Every subject can be enhanced with the right tools, and capital funds approved by voters can help pay for those.

The money also would pay for renovated classrooms, music rooms, performing arts centers, bathrooms, learning spaces for special needs students, cafeterias, playgrounds and more in many of our schools that are on average more than 40 years old. 

We have classrooms with holes in the ceiling and schools with barbed wire on the roof to keep away thieves.

We have playgrounds without a blade of grass or a single shade tree. 

We still have too many portables that are too hot or too cold and sometimes not easily accessible to students with disabilities. That must be addressed. 

We have gyms and athletic facilities at some of our high schools that are sorely outdated and fail to treat boy and girl athletes equally. We have cheerleaders practicing behind the bleachers; soccer players practicing on baseball diamonds; drill teamers practicing in the cafeteria, sometimes before the custodians have a chance to clean up after lunch.

That just isn’t right. 

And, of course, we have to address security. When we built many of our schools all those years ago, the idea of a mass shooting was unheard of. Now, sadly, we have to plan for it, so we desperately need fencing that provides safety but is still welcoming. We need locks and cameras and more controllable access. Our school buildings need alarms and technology that help our police department do its job. 

So we are going to the voters, and we are providing as much information as possible in order for them to make an informed decision. 

We want voters to know what they are voting for – or against. You can read the ballot questions on our website.

Our students need informed stakeholders, voters who will approach their bond/mill levy mail-in ballot with a clear understanding of the impact the results of this election will have on our community now and in the future.

Filed under: community, Core Headline