Plans moving forward for February bond election

By Paula Cronic: PNT Staff Writer

Portales Municipal School District is moving forward with plans to hold a bond election in February. The plan is to keep the rate as close as possible to the current rate while extending the district’s bond payout period, according to Superintendent Randy Fowler.

At Monday’s school board meeting, members voted in favor of allowing administration to go ahead with their planning to hold the bond election.
Details are still to be worked out and approved but the money would be used for facility renovation and repair.

According to information provided at an earlier board meeting by George K. Baum & Co., an investment banking institution, the district could feasibly request at least $6.5 million in a February election.

According to an example the company included in a handout, a $60,000 property with a taxable value of $20,000 would see a tax increase of approximately $20 in the first year, if the district were to pursue that amount. The district has used Baum & Co. to handle its bond sales in the past.

As of July 1, the district’s bonded indebtedness was $7.14 million. The last bond election the district held was in 2000.
Administration, along with a facilities team, architects, board members and community members will come together to decide what the district’s main priorities should be.

“The purpose (of the bond) is to allow us to continue getting funding largely to do renovations and restorations on the buildings,” School Board Secretary Alan Garrett said. “Some of the elementary schools especially are fairly old and can use some work.”

Garrett added being bonded opens up avenues to other sources of money, such as state capital expenditures money. He said if a local district is not making an effort to help itself the state is not going to provide much assistance.

“What we’re hoping to do is if we continue it, it would not change that much. It would be basically what they’re used to paying and the taxes on that bond would not change that drastically,” Fowler said. “That’s why we think it is a good time to go ahead and ask the voters to help us with upgrades to some of our elementaries.”

He added that if the district waits until the bond is paid off, then there’s another three or four more years of not being able to take care of the needs the district has. He feels it would much better serve the district and the community if they can work continually to upgrade the schools.