By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Early voting has begun for the Portales Municipal Schools special bond election for $5.5 million. Election day is Feb. 4.
The bond, if approved, will fund a variety of upgrades including the purchase and installation of computers, the remodeling of locker rooms at the high school gymnasium and an updated security system for all schools.
The bond will also support the schools’ partnership with Eastern New Mexico University to build a multi-purpose stadium on ENMU’s campus. Portales schools will be giving $1 million to the project and will be a part-owner of the stadium.
“I think economically it’s a better deal to spend it this way than to buy our own stadium,” said Superintendent Johnnie Cain of the new stadium. “We use the stadium about eight to 10 times a year. It makes economic sense.”
Cain said he’s excited that the stadium will also be home to the Rams and the team will be able to benefit from concession sales, which will add a new revenue source for the athletic programs.
“(The stadium) puts the games in town,” Cain added. “It will be better for some of our younger kids, it will better for the community.”
Who can vote
All registered voters residing within the boundaries of the Portales Municipal School District. Residents do not have to be a property owner or have students attending Portales schools to vote.
Approval of the bond issue will not increase property tax rates, Cain said. The current tax rate is about 10 percent. The reduction of principal and interest payments on previously issued bonds permit new bonds to be sold without any increase in the tax rate, according to Cain.
Cain said administrators budgeted for this bond election and future bond elections so that they can ask for the maximum amount without raising taxes.
Other proposed projects, identified as priorities by the school board, the $5.5 million would cover for Portales Municipal Schools:
• The purchase and installation of computers, equipment and infrastructure to meet mandatory state testing requirements.
• The installation of new fire alarm systems and updates to security systems district-wide.
• Remodeling of the locker rooms at the high school gymnasium.
• Construction of the activity bus barn and maintenance building.
• Preventive maintenance and repair to all district building and property.
• Heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades and replacement.
What: Portales Municipal Schools special bond election
When: Early voting ends at 5 p.m. on Jan. 31 at the Roosevelt County clerk’s office. Election day is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 4 at the Portales Memorial Building.
Information: 356-7000 for Portales schools and 356-8562 for the Roosevelt County clerk.