Villagers have 6.38 million reasons to vote in the upcoming local election. That is the amount of money Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) is earmarking for Corrales Elementary School if residents vote in favor of APS bonds. According to the sample ballots on the Sandoval County website, there will be two questions dedicated to APS. One will ask voters to approve the issuance of $200 million of general obligation (GO) bonds to be used for the upkeep of Albuquerque schools. The second will be to renew the mill levy tax rate. This tax was instituted in 2016, and if it is renewed for the next six years, APS will receive about $430 million for the same purpose. Villagers will not see an increase in taxes if the bond passes.
Sayre Gerhart, staff architect and project manager for APS, told the Comment that Corrales Elementary’s $6.3 million would be “for the first phase of a renovation/refurbishment project that also will include a new gym, cafeteria and playgrounds.”
Corrales Elementary Principal Liv Baca-Hochaussler says about the bond money: “We desperately need to upgrade our plumbing, especially in the older (west) campus. Our students would greatly benefit if we were able to build a new gymnasium, especially considering we are offering after-school sports and activities and would love to offer more!”
A similar bond was rejected by voters in February 2019. Corrales Elementary Gifted Teacher Ursula Kelly said the 2019 bond “would have been used to make HVAC improvements that would have made the school much more able to address unexpected safety issues surrounding the worldwide pandemic. Corrales was one of the schools that did not have adequate air quality or water quality.” She summarized, “Evey bond that is rejected puts us farther behind.”
APS is one of the largest employers in New Mexico, so an investment into schools represents an investment in economic growth for many.
“Also notable is that these funds account for 70 percent of commercial construction in the metro area,” former Village Councillor Gerhart added, quoting an Albuquerque Journal report from October. Construction projects like the one proposed at Corrales Elementary represent an investment in the commercial construction trade.
This industry employs over 47,000 New Mexicans, according to the New Mexico Labor Market Review from May 2021. The construction industry, usually a reliable source of employment growth in New Mexico, has seen an uncharacteristic 1 percent decrease in jobs in the last year state-wide.
Also on the ballot will be candidates for Soil and Water Conservation District: Zoe L. Economou, Frederick J. Snoy II, James Steven Glass and Kaelan Ashby Dreyer. Each of these candidates is running for four-year appointments as supervisors.
Election Day is November 2. Early voting has already begun at the Corrales Community Center (4326 Corrales Road in the northeast corner of the Village Office complex, beside the Senior Center), and runs until October 30, Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.