Voters to decide on bond issues

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By Don Pace

During Tuesday’s school board elections, voters will also decide on four-year general obligation bonds for infrastructure improvements.

If approved, there would be no tax increases. However, if the bond issues fail, taxes will go down.

The West Las Vegas School district is asking voters to approve a $5 million bond that would be in effect for four years, while at Las Vegas City Schools, the aggregate principal amount would not exceed $8 million.

“The main thing I want to emphasize is that there will not be an increase in taxes. If the bond election is passed by voters, the current tax levy will remain in place, with no increase in the taxes currently being charged for district bonds,” West Las Vegas Schools superintendent Jim Abreu said.

Las Vegas City Schools superintendent Rick Romero also said if the bond election is successful, the current tax levy will remain in place, with no increase to the current rate.

“In fact, the bonds are proposed to be sold in such a way that could possibly decrease the annual tax paid by the taxpayers in future years.”

Abreu said, “One of the most high-profile projects where we’ve used our bond money is our new football stadium at the Frank Herrera Complex. We used some of our last bond money to complete the new track and football field; we got legislative funding for that, but we had to come up with about a 24 percent match to that money. We are making some changes at the West district that are very long lasting and positive projects that will serve kids and fans in soccer, track, football and baseball, with future plans for tennis courts, stadium lighting, grandstands and parking, so this money is really important.”

Abreu said the district would also have great difficulty in the upkeep of district classrooms and buildings without the bond money. He said the bond money would also be used to fix roofs and many other improvements.

“Otherwise, we would have real trouble in keeping up our buildings, and it’s for the kids. We want students to be comfortable when they come into a building. We want classrooms that are well-equipped with everything we need to give them a good education. Speaking of which, we were just informed that our Union Elementary third-graders scored the highest in the state in math and science, and Family Partnership eight-graders scored the highest in science. The students and teachers will be honored at a ceremony at the State Capitol Rotunda in February,” Abreu said.

“Anyone with any questions is free to call me at 426-2311. It rings right at my desk, and I will answer the phone or return any messages. I will always call people back and be happy to talk to them about this because this is critical for the future of West Las Vegas.”

Romero agreed with his counterpart on the West side, giving a long list of projects like roofing, heating and even asbestos removal that need attention. He said the boiler system at Robertson provides heat to the the entire school, and eats energy like the old dinosaur that it is.

“The district has done a great job in repairing, replacing and upgrading roofing, but there are still very pressing issues with roofs. Right now at Legion Park only the cafeteria and part of the multi-purpose room were done during the previous administration. So that would leave everything over the classrooms that needs to be upgraded, the same goes for Sierra Vista. Also teachers in individual classrooms don’t have access to thermostats which makes it difficult to set a comfortable temperature for students in all classrooms,” Romero said.

Romero also agreed with Abreu that in order to apply for capital outlay money the districts would need matching funds provided by revenue created by bond money. He noted that the amount that any individual would have to pay would be carried over from the original bonds.

“There will not be any new taxes. For example, a taxpayer whose property is valued at $120,000 is taxed on one-third of that value, which in this case would be $40,000. The tax rate is based on 9.338 percent, so the taxes paid on the property is $377.32 per year. What we are asking of our property owners is to continue with that tax rate,” Romero said.