KIRTLAND — Voters on Tuesday passed a $20 million bond in the Central Consolidated School District's special election.
And school district officials say they are now ready for the next step.
A total of 614 voters cast their ballots in favor of the bond, and 396 voted against it.
The bond's passing means a continuance of the current tax rate of $6.828 per $1,000 net taxable value of a home. For example, if a home is valued at $150,000, $50,000 of that would be taxable, yielding an annual payment of $341.40 for the homeowner.
The bond will go toward the design and construction of a proposed elementary school in Kirtland on the grounds of Grace B. Wilson and Ruth N. Bond elementary schools. It will also cover the cost of heating and air conditioning repairs at Kirtland, Newcomb and Shiprock high schools.
CCSD board president Matthew Tso said the district will now be able to make some much needed improvements in the schools.
"We are very thankful to our parents and the community members who voted to support our students and our schools," Tso said. "I look at this election as a vote of confidence in our district, as well as our administration, by the voters."
CCSD superintendent Don Levinski said the next step will be to determine the needs of the facilities in the Newcomb and Kirtland areas.
"We do have a five-year plan in place, and those plans can be adjusted based on what comes out of those findings," Levinski said.
At the Ruth N. Bond Elementary School polling location Tuesday afternoon, voters shared their opinions on the bond.
Kirtland resident Chris Overson said he voted in favor of the bond after weighing the pros and cons of the issue. He said that the taxes he would pay as a homeowner are negligible.
"I think the pros outweigh the cons," he said. "I think it's a great opportunity to build a new school, especially with the state of New Mexico assisting with funding. I do not think the tax burden is going to be at all punitive in my case."
Candace Thomas, of Kirtland, voted against the measure because she said that it would not benefit her children. Thomas said she had sent her children to school in Colorado after she could not get a waiver to open enroll her children in the Farmington Municipal School District.
"I felt like the (CCSD) teachers and the administration, there were so many problems and it was affecting my kids," Thomas said.
With two of her children at Ruth N. Bond and another who will likely attend the school in the future, Deidra Deschillie voted for the bond.
"I would like to have the kids have more education and more books, whatever they need," said Deschillie, who lives in Kirtland.
Kirtland resident Donovan Mack, on the other hand, voted against the bond because he wasn't happy with the way the CCSD board operates.
"The tax rate and stuff doesn't bother me," he said. "I don't like what they are doing and the decisions they are making for the children of this community. The school board we have is focused in one area or it's focused for one set of people."