The League of Women Voters of Greater Las Cruces (LWVGLC) hosted a forum to help educate the community about the 2018 School Bond Issue Wednesday, Jan. 31 in the LCPS Administration Building Board Room, 505 S. Main St.; Suite 249, at 5:30-6:30 pm.

Forum photo

LCPS Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing answers an audience member’s question at the League of Women Voters 2018 Bond Issue Forum.

The panelists for the forum included: LCPS Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing, Deputy Superintendent Gabe Jacquez, Communications Officer Jo Galvan, Community Outreach Liaison Brigitte Zigelhofer, Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Ben Woods and Cameron Castillo, a member of the student advisory council and student at Centennial High School..

“The projects this bond election could fund would impact every facet of the community and every facet of our schools,” Ewing said. “About 92 percent of the funding we receive from the state goes directly into employee salaries. If we didn’t have this bonding capacity, we would have to look at reducing staff to fund what we would consider critical infrastructure needs.”

As part of the forum, Jacquez gave a brief overview of the capital construction projects the district could fund if the 2018 bond election passes. He also presented projects that were successfully completed using funding from the previous bond election in 2014.

“This is an investment in the nearly 25,000 students that we have here in Las Cruces,” Castillo said. “At Mayfield High School, some of the furniture they use is the same furniture the school opened with in 1965. My parents weren’t even alive in 1965. So we need to look at the bond as a device that could fix some of these glaring issues at our schools.”

Jacquez went on to explain that if the bond election passes, an oversight committee will prioritize all of proposed projects based on cost, scale and urgency.

Although, if passed, the 2018 bond election would not increase the school tax rate, Galvan mentioned that it has been more than 25 years since voters approved a school bond issue with a school tax rate increase.

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, voters will have to opportunity to vote on a $50 million school bond election that if approved, would not increase the school tax rate, district officials said.

If passed, the election would allow LCPS to sell up to $50 million in bonds during the next five years to fund the construction of new classrooms and multipurpose rooms, safety and security upgrades, major school renovations such as new roofs and heating and cooling systems, new furniture, playground equipment, districtwide technology support, and phase I of major upgrades to physical plant facilities.

On Election Day, Tuesday Feb. 6, registered voters can vote at any of the 13 voting convenience centers listed below from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The voting convenience centers are: Desert Hills Elementary School, 280 N. Roadrunner Pkwy.; Doña Ana County Government Center, 845 Motel Blvd.; East Picacho Elementary School, 4450 N. Valley Dr.; Fairacres Elementary School, 4501 W. Picacho Ave.; Hillrise Elementary School, 1400 S. Curnutt St.; Jornada Elementary School, 3400 Elks Dr.; Las Alturas Fire Station, 4145 Cholla Rd.; Las Cruces High School, 1750 El Paseo Rd.; Mayfield High School, 1955 N. Valley Dr.; Sonoma Elementary School, 4201 Northrise Dr.; Sunrise Elementary School, 5300 Holman Rd.; Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave. and Tombaugh Elementary School, 226 Carver Rd.

According to the LWVGLC website, the group is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

-LCPS Communications Coordinator Paul Dahlgren, pdahlgren@lcps.net, (575) 527-5808