Bond election cancelled

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

The Portales Municipal Schools Board of Education unanimously voted Tuesday to cancel a bond election proposed for February.

After examining the schedules for retirement of previous bonded indebtedness, Superintendent Randy Fowler told the board raising $6.5 million to $7 million wouldn’t be feasible. Instead he said that total amount would come in slowly over several years.

Fowler said the district’s bonding capacity is about $10 million, and there is already $7 million in bonded indebtedness. Fowler told the board he was concerned $3 million wouldn’t be enough to clearly identify a specific need for voters to support.

Fowler said waiting until a later date on the election would allow the district to lobby for support from the state’s Public School Capital Outlay Council in the spring. He said Lindsey Elementary School has been ranked high in need among the state’s schools, and by spring, it could be moved up far enough on the list to have a chance at getting a major capital project funded.

“What I would like to do is see what kind of help we can get from the state,” Fowler said. “I would love to build a new school at Lindsey.”

If that happened, then priorities for a bond election could be shifted to another school, likely Steiner, which is next in the state rankings among Portales schools. Either way, Fowler told the board it would be important to know exactly how the school district is going to spend the money before going to the voters.

“If we approach it in this manner we’re going to be better stewards and get more accomplished,” Fowler said.

Board member Inez Rodriquez agreed with Fowler. “It makes sense,” she said.

Fowler told the board the PSCOC normally announces its funding choices by August, which would mean the board might want to reconsider a bond election next fall.

In other business board members:

• Heard a report on adding soccer as a sport from community members who submitted a proposal in July to add the sport. The board plans to take action on the request at its November meeting.

• Approved revisions to the policy and procedure handbook.

• Approved four budget adjustment requests.

• Awarded a contract for custodial and maintenance supplies to Miller Paper.