This Tuesday, Feb. 7, residents of the Santa Fe Public Schools district will vote on whether to continue to offer approximately $12.7 million in annual, property tax-based funding for the district.

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Without further ado, here's what you need to know.

What will it cost me?

  • The 2-mill levy is essentially a
  • $2 tax on every $2,000 in assessed property value
  • . If your home is assessed at $100,000 (meaning its market value is $300,000), you'll be paying $200 a year. (To find out your current assessed value, visit the
  • Santa Fe County Assessor's information center
  • and type in your address.)
  • The current vote is about whether to renew the existing levy, not increase it. Got a $300,000 house? You're already paying that $200 a year, so
  • your tax bill won't change
  • if the levy is approved.

What does it mean for Santa Fe Public Schools?

  • $12.7 million per year
  • for the next six years

  • This money can be used only for the following purposes (via
  • NMPED
  • ):

  • 1. Erecting, remodeling, making additions to, providing equipment for, or furnishing public

  • school buildings;

  • 2. Purchasing or improving public school grounds;

  • 3. Maintenance of public school buildings or public school grounds, including expenditures

  • for technical training and certification for maintenance and facilities management

  • personnel, but excluding salary expenses of school district employees; 

  • 4. Purchasing activity vehicles for transporting students to extracurricular activities; and

  • 5. Purchasing computer software and hardware for student use in public school classrooms.
  • Within those parameters, SFPS Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez has said she hopes to spend the money on
  • classroom technology
  • (like interactive chalkboards, document cameras, overhead projectors and computers) and
  • better turf
  • (read: less thirsty, more enviro-friendly) for school playing fields.

Should I vote yes or no?

  • Think of the children:
  • Gutierrez has threatened that students will suffer if the measure is not approved. "It would be a shame, given how harmful to children it would be, for it not to pass," Gutierrez
  • told the Albuquerque Journal.
  • Think of the administrators:
  • Gutierrez has presided over a less-than-stellar era in the district's history, especially when it comes to funding for school construction. In the specific case of Agua Fria Elementary, a lucrative contract with an Albuquerque-based architect has led to exorbitant prices for dubiously justified improvements, including a
  • controversial proposal to raze Agua Fria
  • and build a new school from scratch.
  • Think of the wild card:
  • In December 2010, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King ruled on a question about a 2008 bond issue: Can the district administration use bond funds to pay for things  voters didn't specifically approve when they voted for the bond? King said yes--a move state Sen. Phil Griego, D-Los Alamos, at the time
  • described as "dangerous precedent."
  • In a way, King's ruling makes sense: Things change, and emergencies do arise. But Griego is also right: Who's to say we won't be funding a boondoggle that does little to help kids learn?

Where do I go?

  • Check your voter registration card for your precinct, then consult the
  • county's precinct list
  • to find your appropriate polling place. VOTE!