BY ELLEN BEN-NAIM
Los Alamos School Board President
Early voting for the School Bond election begins Oct. 8. I urge you to join me in supporting our community’s most important asset – our children – by voting YES. While your taxes will not increase, our students will benefit as White Rock schools are renovated and rebuilt and other sites across the district undergo additional improvements and maintenance.
First, supporting our students is the right thing to do. Our students have benefited from the new Middle School and High School as have students at Aspen and Barranca Mesa Elementary Schools. I want the same opportunities for future students at Chamisa and Pinon. Barranca Mesa Elementary School is a fabulous new facility. However, the White Rock elementary schools are 50-60 years old. We cannot maintain the same levels of excellence in crumbling facilities. This bond will provide funding for refurbishing these schools.
Los Alamos Public Schools has an outstanding track record of rebuilding schools. Each project has included a thorough planning process that involves input from all stakeholders including teachers, parents and community members. The first step is to articulate the educational priorities of the site, and then we design buildings that support these goals. This process is completed well before the first shovel enters the ground. Furthermore, with careful oversight, each of the previous school construction projects have been completed on time and within budget. Rest assured that LAPS spends the community’s bond funds with meticulous care and planning.
In addition, funding this bond is a great investment in our community. Many Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) new hires come to Los Alamos because of our excellent schools. According to a draft of the soon to be finalized 5 Year Facilities Master Plan, in 2013, 37% of the LANL workforce lived in Los Alamos County. By 2018, the percentage increased to 44% of a significantly larger workforce. For homeowners, our investment in excellent schools can only increase property values. The entire community benefits from a healthy, adequately funded school system.
Finally, passing this bond will not increase your taxes. The funds will allow LAPS to continue with urgently needed upgrades to our school facilities. I hope you will join me in a “YES” vote.