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$65 million in bonds could bring changes to Las Cruces Public Schools

By: Genevieve Curtis
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Early voting is already underway for a $65 million bond issue for Las Cruces Public Schools.

If approved, the bond money will go toward renovating schools, adding safety measures, major repairs and improvements to roofs, heating and cooling, and playgrounds. The bond also includes a $3 million public school buildings levy.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the bond, if approved, will be Las Cruces High School.

The school is under construction and will be for quite some time.

Voters approved the bond that paid for phase one, now the bond money will pay for phase two.

If this bond doesn't pass, we couldn't complete phase two, which is completion of the project. Phase one would still stand on its own but it would leave an awful lot of the instruction space and a lot of the other improvements undone, said Superintendent Stan Rounds.

Rounds said the district told voters the high school would be a multiyear project happening in multiple phases.

That goes for the field of dreams as well. The bond money will go to expand the baseball and soccer facilities.

We've completed all of the work we promised the voters before we asked for the new bond, said Rounds.

If approved, the renovation of the high school will receive a state match.

In this bond, that project in particular, has a state match. So as we put $14 million up on our side, the State of New Mexico will put up about $2 for every $1 we put up for that project. Thats why its the right thing to do, said Rounds.

Other projects in the bond include infrastructure upgrades, repairs, a new gym and remodeled music classrooms at Sierra Middle School. There is also money for nursing are renovations at Alameda Elementary school.

There will be district wide changes to bring schools into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Several schools will also see changes to their roofs, heating and cooling and storage.

I think its a wonderful thing. The biggest benefit is that our taxes won't go up, said Charles Wager.

Local taxpayers like Wagner have a history of supporting school bond issues. This time there will not be a tax increase if the bond is approved.

Our community supports the schools. Actually, they've never had a school bond issue that did not pass, said Wagner.

Wagner said he hasnt heard anyone speak unfavorably about the bond issue.

I think the largest portion of it is going to go to completing Las Cruces High School, which is sorely in need of renovation and is well underway now. Another area that I'm very impressed with is that there is money to increase the security at several other schools in the district in light of whats happened at Roswell. I think this is a needed thing that we need to do, said Wagner.

The bond also includes around $4 million to purchase land for future schools.

We're really lucky that way our voters understand the importance of our education system. The importance of keeping our buildings up to snuff, the importance of providing for kids, said Rounds.

Election Day is Feb. 4.



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