School bond passes

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

Portales voters emphatically said yes to a school bond that would pave the way to a new building.

By a 871-172 count, $9.5 million in General Obligation Bonds will be issued. The money will be coupled with $11.8 million already awarded by the state for construction of a new facility to replace both Steiner Elementary and Lindsey Middle schools.

“I’m very pleased with the support the community has shown for our school system,” Portales Schools Superintendent Randy Fowler said. “I think the bond issue is very positive for our school system, as well as our community.”

The votes are unofficial until Friday. Roosevelt County Clerk Janet Collins said the votes, which total about 11 percent of eligible voters, should be certified Friday.

Steiner and Lindsey were named as the No. 6 and No. 14 schools, respectively, as buildings in most need of renovation by the state public schools authority. Each building is more than 70 years old.

Portales Schools Superintendent Randy Fowler thought it was an easy sell to the taxpayers due to cost. The district estimated renovation to the two schools would total $26 million, while building a new facility would be about $16 million.

“I think it makes a lot of sense for most people to see the difference in remodeling two old buildings and having one in its place.”
Fowler said the public school outlay committee was a big help in helping to secure the $11.8 million from the state.

The estimated monthly increase to pay for the bonds is $2.94 per month for a taxpayer with $120,000 property value.

The leftover money, about $5.5 million, Fowler said, would take care of various needs in the district like the Portales Junior High cafeteria and various renovations at James Elementary and Portales High School — both built in the 1960s.

We have more needs than funds, but I think every district’s probably in that boat. We just have to be very conservative in our approach to make sure we take the best care and be good stewards with money.”