LAPS NEWS RELEASE
What is the Public Schools Building Act Tax? Often referred to as HB33, this tax provides important funding for Los Alamos Public Schools, including projectors, classroom furniture, playground equipment, computers and software.
“The funds we receive through the Public Schools Building Act Tax are critical to the district,” said Interim Superintendent Jennifer Guy. “Having Public School Buildings Tax Act money available for purchases to support technology and facilities allows LAPS to put more of the operational budget towards hiring staff and purchasing classroom supplies and materials.”
Unlike the General Obligation (GO) Bond which can only be used for capital improvements such as building or remodeling schools, the Public Schools Building Act can be used for furniture, improving public school grounds, technology and other improvements to schools, as well as building new schools. LAPS used funds from this mill levy for the 1:1 initiative which provided a Chromebook or iPad for every student in the district, from PreK through 12th grade. Promethean boards, software, playground equipment and maintenance necessities including a new boiler at the high school, roof repairs and fire safety upgrades have also been funded through this tax.
This spring LAPS plans to use this funding to ensure that heating and cooling systems are working properly. Facilities will perform automation upgrades to all HVAC systems throughout the district at a cost of approximately $200,000 and will replace six HVAC units at $50,000 each. In addition, five boilers around the district need to be replaced at a cost of about $75,000 each. These upgrades are important for the ongoing comfort and safety of staff and students. In addition, funds will be used for landscaping, irrigation, and playground equipment at Barranca Elementary and to support outdoor learning areas at several schools.
The tax rate of $3.246 per each $1,000 of net taxable value of property has not increased; however, information from the Los Alamos County Tax Assessor’s website indicates that this rate has actually decreased over the past five years.
“The funding we receive from the state for teachers and all staff, classroom supplies and transportation does not provide anywhere near enough money to pay for furnishings, technology items, maintaining the buildings for large projects, or building new buildings,” explained LAPS Business Manager Teresa Gatewood during a presentation to the School Board last night. She also pointed out that funds from food services, athletics, non-instructional, Federal, local, state grants, bond building, debt service and custodial funds are all restricted and intended for specific things. “We cannot spend these monies any way we wish,” she said.
The Public Schools Building Act is on the ballot for the upcoming election. Early voting continues through October 30th with Election Day on Tuesday, November 2nd. All voters residing within the boundaries of the Los Alamos Public School district that are registered are eligible to vote. Election Day voting is open from 7am – 7 pm at the Los Alamos County Municipal Building, White Rock Town Hall, Golf Course Community Building and at UNM-Los Alamos Building 6, Room 631.