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Posted: February 1, 2019

Last Call to Vote

In her weekly message, Supt. Reedy thanks voters who already mailed in their ballots and reminds everyone else that ballots are due by 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5.

On the first day of school a couple of years ago, I spent some time with the students and staff at Mountain View Elementary School in their beautiful, new building. The school, originally built in 1952, had been rebuilt thanks to voters who overwhelmingly approved funding for projects like this in a previous bond/mill levy election.

Now, these young students who live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city have a safe, comfortable place to learn, explore and play. They look forward to coming to school every day, and the community has something to be really proud of. As Principal Anthony Lovato says, the new building gives these students and their families hope. 

Anthony also says it’s no coincidence that student achievement and attendance improved after they opened the doors to the new building. 

“It provides everyone with mental stability and a positive mindset that helps us focus on academic achievement and the child as a whole. It has been a blessing,” he said. 

This is why we are going to the voters once again. Why we’re asking them to vote on a $900 million bond/mill levy package that would raise property taxes by about 5 percent. Why we need the money to pay for renovating and repairing aging schools like Mountain View as well as updating security, technology, and educational equipment.

If you already voted, thanks. If you haven’t, make sure you get your ballot back to the Bernalillo County Clerk by 7 p.m. Tuesday. To make sure it gets there on time, you can drop it off at the Clerk’s Office on the sixth floor of 1 Civic Plaza in downtown Albuquerque or at the County Clerk's Office Warehouse, 2400 Broadway SE, Building H.

Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of misinformation being spread about what we’re asking for. For example, that voting yes would raise your tax bill by 20 percent. The impact on your tax bill is closer to 5 percent – about $12 a month on a $220,000 home. 

We also heard that none of the money would go to students and teachers. That’s ridiculous. All of the funding goes to benefit our students and staff, whether in the form of new or renovated buildings, better heating and cooling, safer schools, new equipment, upgraded technology. 

Some people are confused by what’s happening in Santa Fe. While the legislature and governor are looking at more funding for schools, that money would go toward the school district’s operational budget, paying for things like salaries and programs. Capital funding, which comes from property taxes, pays for buildings, repairs, equipment. That’s what we’re asking the public to vote on.

Others are perplexed by the ballot language, which is written as required by law but admittedly is hard to understand. That is why we have made a concerted effort to inform the public.

I’m sorry that this request became so controversial and confusing, but I appreciate all of you who took the time to learn. To those of you who read the information we provided, shared it, explained it and then made an informed decision as you cast your ballot, I say thank you. 

We’ll see what the will of the voters is come Tuesday. Regardless of the outcome, we’ll continue doing our best to provide a quality education for our students. That’s our job. That’s what we do.