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School district mill levy renewal is on November ballot


Whether you vote early or on election day – Tuesday, Nov. 5 – don’t forget that this year’s combined ballot includes, in addition to candidates for city offices, school board and soil and water conservation district, both a $16 million bond issue for Doña Ana Community College (see Sept. 20 Bulletin) and a three-mill levy for Las Cruces Public Schools.

If voters renew the three-mill levy (also known as HB33 because that was the enabling legislation passed by the state legislature), it will continue to generate about $10 million a year for LCPS to pay for health and safety projects in school buildings, new school furnishings and music equipment and  classroom technology upgrades, according to an LCPS brochure about the mill levy.

If the three-mill levy is approved by voters, there will be no increase in property tax rates, LCPS said.

Here is some of what the money generated by the mill levy will help fund, according to LCPS:

  • New classroom, cafeteria, library and office furniture for two schools each year.
  • School improvements such as campus perimeter fencing, ADA compliance needs, floor replacement and new playground equipment.
  • Technology upgrades to support students and staff.
  • New equipment, instruments and uniforms for high school and middle school music programs.

HB33 dollars, in combination with bond funds approved by local voters and state Public School Capital Outlay Council funding, have supported the construction of Monte Vista Elementary, Mesa Middle and parts of Centennial High School as well as part of the renovation costs of Las Cruces High School, said LCPS Community Outreach Liaison Brigitte Zigelhofer. HB33 money was also used to remodel the school district’s Teacher Learning Center so it could house the Challenger Learning Center that has “forever changed sixth-grade learning,” Zigelhofer said. HB33 funding has also recently been used to purchase new furniture for Tombaugh and Mesilla Park elementary schools, and members of the Oñate High School Band recently received new uniforms thanks to the money, she said. The funds also paid for a new parking lot at MacArthur Elementary School.

 “The Public-School Buildings Election is all about supporting our students and ensuring a positive learning environment for them,” said LCPS Interim Superintendent Karen Trujillo. “Among many items, this mill levy will fund uniforms and instruments for fine art programs, ADA compliant projects and will replace outdated furniture in the classrooms. These dollars will also be used to help us create an atmosphere where students have direct access to the latest technology, allowing them to exercise innovative ways to learn.” 

If approved, the mill levy will continue to assess local property taxes in the amount of $3 for every $1,000 of net taxable value of a homeowner’s property for the next six years, LCPS said.

Taxable value is one-third of the assessed value of a person’s property. As an example, a home with an assessed value of $150,000 has a taxable value of $50,000. For every $1,000, the homeowner pays $3 in school taxes for the three-mill levy, which is $12.50 a month and $150 per year.

Local property owners also pay school taxes to support previous LCPS general obligation bonds approved by voters, as well as a two-mill capital improvements tax levy (SB9). The total combined school tax rate of $9.96 per $1,000 of taxable value will remain the same if the three-mill is passed by voters, LCPS said.

For more information, call 575-527-6014 and visit www.lcps.net.

Election 2019, Three Mill Levy, LCPS