DId You Know? (Q and A)

Questions and Answers About the Bond Proposal and the Bond Election

Q: When is the bond election?
A: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 

Q: How much money will the bond election generate for RRPS?  
A: $60 million, which will become available to the district over a four-year period.  

Q: How will the funds be used? 
A: The Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education (school board) has identified four projects for funding from the revenue generated by this bond issue:

  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC): $43.5 Million
  • It Infrastructure and Capacity: $3 Million
  • Career-Technical Education and High School Expansion: $12 Million
  • Athletic Field Replacement:  $1.5 Million

To learn more about these projects, click on the tabs at the bottom of our bond election home page

Q:  Who chose the projects?  
A:  A committee consisting of community and business members and leaders, parents, and school district staff discussed possible projects and made a recommendation to the school board.  The board approved the committee’s recommendation. 

Q:  Why are no new schools included in the bond proposal?
A:  For the past several years Rio Rancho Public Schools’ enrollment has been flat, and we still have space available in some of our elementary and middle schools.  The opening of Joe Harris Elementary in 2020 will enable us to reduce enrollment in the elementary schools that are over capacity and accommodate major new housing developments.  Our biggest issues with classroom space are at the high school level, and this bond proposal includes funding to build additional classrooms at Rio Rancho and Cleveland High, and specialized classrooms for career-technical programs that will further absorb some students from our high schools.   

The fact that we do not need to build new schools right away enables us to designate most of the proceeds from this bond issue to much-needed repairs at existing campuses.  These upgrades will contribute to the health and safety of our students and assure a functional environment for teaching and learning. 

We are aware home construction has picked up in Rio Rancho and are monitoring this closely, but so far this has not translated to large numbers of new students.   

Q: Can’t buildings be maintained with my regular tax dollars or with state appropriations?
A: Yes, to some degree, but the funds available for maintenance from those sources are not sufficient to cover repairs to large building systems (heating and cooling, for example).  Those big projects are best funded through bond dollars. 

Q: I don’t have children in RRPS schools. Why are new schools and building maintenance important to me?
A: Quality, well-maintained schools attract families and businesses to Rio Rancho. Realtors will tell you that Rio Rancho’s schools are one of the biggest reasons families — and businesses — choose to move to Rio Rancho. The district’s academic results are a big draw, but so are its safe, clean, functional facilities. The quality of RRPS’s facilities also supports economic development and brings visitors – and their dollars – into our city.

Q: What happens if the bond fails to pass?
A: We would not be able to do the projects included in the bond issue, with the following results:

  • Crucial building maintenance would either not be performed or would have to be paid for by taking operational money out of the classroom. Over time, schools would become more run-down and less effective as learning environments.
  • Costs for repairs would go up as building systems age even further, and the district would not be able to take advantage of the energy cost savings that could be achieved with more modern HVAC equipment.
  • We could miss out on getting additional federal matching funds for technology, which could compromise our ability to provide an efficient and secure computer network for teaching and learning.
  • It would hamper our ability to provide the career-technical training courses our students need and the business community says would benefit our city’s economy. 

Q: Will my tax rates go up if the bond is passed?
A: No.  We are asking voters to continue their current level of property tax support for public schools. Passage will allow the district to issue new bonds as old ones are paid off, so the tax rate stays the same.    

Q: How much does this cost me on my property taxes?
A:  It comes to about $8.54/$1,000 of the net taxable value of the property (or 1/3 of a property’s actual value).  For example, if you have a $150,000 home, the taxable value would be $50,000, so the levy would come to $428 per year (slightly less if you have a head of household or veterans exemption). That’s about the price of a cup of coffee per day. 

Q: How do I know my levy money is being used wisely?

A: Independent studies conducted by the Center for American Progress, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, ranked Rio Rancho Public Schools top in the state in terms of “bang for the buck” — strong educational results relative to per-student funding. It provides independent confirmation that RRPS uses its dollars wisely to produce results in the classroom.

Q:  Who may vote in the bond election?
A:  Any registered voter residing in the Rio Rancho Public Schools district may cast a ballot.  To find out if you are a registered Rio Rancho voter, contact the Sandoval County Bureau of Elections at 867-7577.  If you are not registered, you may register online (before October 8) or at any polling place at the time you cast your vote.  (This is also a recent change to state law.)

Q:  Why is this election different from previous bond elections?
A:  Until recently, state law required that school elections be held separately from other elections.  Recent changes to the law require that school districts and most other local jurisdictions (except some municipalities and some county offices) hold a combined election on the first Tuesday in odd-numbered years. 

Q:  What else will be on the ballot? 
A:  The election will include candidates for elective positions on school boards (including Rio Rancho’s), community colleges (including CNM), flood control authorities (including SSCAFCA), and other local boards and commissions.  It will also include ballot questions from all of these entities as well as water and sanitation districts and tax increment districts. 

Q: Where and when can I vote?

A: Follow this link for a list of Election Day polling places, early voting sites, an interactive map, and absentee voting information.