Bond issue goes to vote Feb. 5

Tucumcari School District residents will vote on continuing a 20-year-old tax to fund school operations in a special election on Feb. 5.

The tax of $2 for every $1,000 in assessed property value funds maintenance and repairs, construction services, the purchase of computer software and similar activities, according to Leola Patterson, business manager for the Tucumcari Public School District.

The tax is expected to raise about $165,000 this year, and similar amounts through 2018.

Proceeds go to a capital improvement fund that is specified in state law to cover costs associated with building, improving and maintaining schools and grounds.

The tax proceeds represent a small part of the Tucumcari Schools' $13.2 million total annual budget and is part of the district's $8 million operations budget.

The particular fund the tax will refresh, however, now contains about $318,000. This year about $111,000 of this money is budgeted for maintenance and repairs at school buildings. Another $100,000 is budgeted for construction services and almost $68,000 for computer software. Lesser amounts cover items like general support and materials, and training for maintenance personnel, Patterson said.

The state matches local contributions at a rate close to dollar-for-dollar, Patterson said. This year, she said, the state matched the property tax fund with about $155,000.

Superintendent Aaron McKinney said that proceeds from the tax are financing the demolition of an old boiler building at Tucumcari Middle School, school safety and energy efficiency measures in all schools, and sidewalks to the Tucumcari elementary school.

He said he also hopes to purchase a 60-passenger activity bus that would allow students to travel more comfortably for overnight visits, such as sports games at distant schools.

In the past, McKinney said, funds from this tax have contributed recently to the district's $5 million contribution to the $20 million cost of Tucumcari High School's construction project, a new roof at Tucumcari Elementary School and replacement of concrete at Tucumcari Middle School.

For a property with a market value of $50,000 McKinney said, the tax comes to about $1.68 per year. A property valued at $125,000 would be charged about $4.25 a year.

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