Farmington schools prepares for upcoming $8 million proposed bond election

Playground repairs and renovation a top priority for district

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
Students play on the Ladera Del Norte Elementary School playground in an undated photo. The replacement of the school's playground equipment is one of multiple projects which could be funded if voters approve a $8 million proposed bond For Farmington Municipal Schools on Nov.2.
  • Farmington Municipal Schools will have a $8 million proposed general obligation bond question on the ballot for the Nov. 2 local election.
  • The smaller amount is due in part to the district basically exhausting its bonding capacity without raising property taxes.
  • District officials created an “Invest in Farmington Municipal Schools” webpage on the district’s website for the community to see a cost breakdown by school.

FARMINGTON — Farmington school officials are planning for an upcoming $8 million proposed bond election that will focus on smaller projects, including playground repairs across the district.

Farmington Municipal Schools will have a general obligation bond question for voters on the Nov. 2 local election, one of 32 other area elections before San Juan County voters.

The $8 million bond is one of the smaller bond amounts proposed in recent history. The the district had a $26 million bond approved by voters in 2017 and a $35 million bond in 2014.

The smaller amount is due in part to the district basically exhausting its bonding capacity without raising property taxes, according to Farmington schools Chief of Operations Ted Lasiewicz.

The district’s tax rate of $9.965 per $1,000 net taxable value of a home would remain in place if the bond is approved.

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Farmington Superintendent Gene Schmidt told The Daily Times the district isn’t interested in raising taxes but wants to maintain its current tax rate.

“This particular bond creates opportunities to do continued maintenance that puts us in a position to provide that quality of care that we expect for our schools,” Schmidt said. 

The Aztec Municipal School District in 2019 and 2013 had mill levies rejected by voters after proposing a small increase to property taxes for its capital improvements tax.

The $8 million proposed bond will fund $7 million in repairs and renovations with a $1 million buffer in case of projects going over budget, Lasiewicz said.

The proposed projects touch every school in the district and the district’s Central Kitchen facility.

Farmington Municipal Schools Chief of Operations Ted Lasiewicz at the district's central office at 3401 E. 30th St. reviews the work planned for the district's planned $8 million proposed bond election set for Nov. 2.

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District officials created an “Invest in Farmington Municipal Schools” webpage on the district’s website for the community to see a cost breakdown by school.

One of the top priorities is repairing, renovating or relocating playgrounds around the district.

Lasiewicz said Bluffview, McKinley and Mesa Verde elementary schools would see some of the largest amount of work.

About $860,000 worth of work is planned at Mesa Verde Elementary including $400,000 in playground work and $250,000 to connect the school’s cafeteria to the main building with an enclosed walkthrough.

The enclosed walkthrough would help secure the school’s campus during lunch.

Updating the north and south playgrounds at Bluffview Elementary and adding wood mulch is projected to cost about $380,000.

Replacing carpet in the Mesa View Middle School corridors with tile flooring is set to cost $160,000.

The $550,000 in renovation work slated for McCormick Elementary School deals with remodeling restrooms in the school and removing plumbing from a gym office.

“We're going to look at playgrounds for elementary children just as a way of keeping schools as a happy place,” Schmidt said.

Renovation work tied to other parts of the schools including HVAC and air filtration systems are not included in this proposed bond.

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Both Schmidt and Lasiewicz both mentioned some of the work being planned for HVAC and roof work could come from $19 million the district is receiving in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan.

Some of the HVAC work is projected to be expensive, with about $8 million in HVAC work identified at Piedra Vista High School, according to Lasiewicz.

Schmidt believes Farmington schools will work harder to secure state and federal funding to continue needed work on the district’s 19 schools as its bonding capacity is limited.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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