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Alamosa officials take stand on 3A ballot issue

Posted: Thursday, Sep 27th, 2012

Courier editor

ALAMOSA — Alamosa county commissioners yesterday voted to support the school district’s ballot issue for athletic, agricultural and computer facilities.

“I think this is a very good thing,” said Commissioner Mike Yohn, and Commission Chairman George Wilkinson added, “I think it would be a great addition to Alamosa County … I think it is well needed.”

“I would definitely go for it,” added Commissioner Darius Allen.

Allen said during the time his three children attended the Alamosa schools, there was no agricultural building like the one proposed in Alamosa school district’s 3 A this year, and he believed it should have happened years ago.

He said he supported the entire project.

“I think it would put the finishing touches on things we started over there.”

Allen said when objectors talk about the 30 percent of students who are not proficient, he points to the 70 percent that are and asks, “How are they being rewarded? I think this is a reward for those kids who do work hard.”

He said the new facilities could become the focal point of the community.

“I think the time is right,” Yohn said. “It will be a great addition.”

He said for years the Alamosa High School has not had adequate facilities, and it is time for this.

Yohn added that the new facilities would also affect Alamosa’s economy by drawing visitors in for athletic and other events on a regular basis.

Alamosa School Superintendent Rob Alejo and Assistant Superintendent Mark Meyer asked for the county’s support with the ballot issue this November. The Alamosa city council has also come out in support of the school ballot question.

Alejo explained that the ballot language calls for a $4.9 million bond, which is $1 million less than the ballot question proposed two years ago. During the intervening time, the district has paid off more of its indebtedness, he explained.

He said if the construction costs come in less than $4.9 million, the school board will not issue bonds for the full amount requested in the ballot question.

Commissioner Wilkinson asked about the revenue from the former elementary schools the district has sold or is in the process of selling.

Alejo said the district has sold Boyd Elementary and Evans Elementary but has not yet spent the revenue from those sales.

“It’s been earmarked for capital improvements within the district,” Alejo said.

He said the school board is willing to devote some money from the sale of those two school buildings to offset the costs of this project.

Yohn said if the school board would put the revenues from those sales into this project, it would show the community “a lot of good buy in from the school district.”

The commissioners also asked about the agricultural building, which is proposed to be separate from the existing high school and separate from the proposed athletic facility. Alejo said the ag education facility would be located apart from the other buildings to round out the school complex and provide ample space for agricultural projects. The area south of the high school, where the ag ed building would be constructed, “right now is a dirt field,” Alejo said. “It does well to grow chicos and dirt.”

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