Carlsbad residents will vote in the Nov. 2 election on a $24 million mill levy to fund building improvements or construction for Carlsbad Carlsbad Municipal Schools.
The funds could be used, per the ballot question, to pay for improving existing buildings, building new facilities including teacher housing and adding assets like fiber optics.
Early and absentee voting started on Oct. 5.
The levy provides the school district with $3.8 million a year until 2027, said Carlsbad Municipal Schools (CMS) Superintendent Dr. Gerry Washburn during his weekly video announcement on Oct. 19.
Washburn said the mill levy will not raise taxes as it is a continuation of a mill levy already in effect. The current tax rate is $1.796 per $1,000 in assessed valuation for residential properties and $1.987 per $1,000 for non-residential properties.
Jason Shirley, Carlsbad City Councilor and member of the Committee for Carlsbad Kids, a group of local residents and leaders that promoted the initiative ahead of the election, said the mill levy would help the district to pay for upkeep and improvements for its schools.
“I think that any time that we have dollars that go towards the maintenance and upkeep of our schools that’s positive for our children,” Shirley said.
CMS Deputy Superintendent LaVern Shan said these improvements allow the school to maintain its day-to-day operations.
In the past, the mill levy has been used to improve sidewalks, maintain air conditioning and heating systems and build shade structures, records show. The district also used the funds to improve playgrounds and added a girls soccer practice field at the high school scheduled to open in November.
If Carlsbad voters vote yes on the mill levy it will be used for lighting and security system upgrades and roof repairs. The district also plans to improve accessibility needs such as installing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliment ramps.
Shirley said the levy may also be used to improve Carlsbad High School’s sewage system.
CMS is also working on larger projects such as constructing a performing arts center at Carlsbad High School, reopening Riverside Elementary School and expanding Ocotillo and Desert Willow elementary schools.
These projects are a part of a bond that was voted on in 2019 and will not use funds from the new levy, Shirley said.
Claudia Silva is a reporter from the UNM Local Reporting Fellowship. She can be reached at [email protected], by phone at 575-628-5506 or on Twitter @thewatchpup.