Bond money will be put to use on updates, upgrades and renovations

Liliana Castillo

Clovis Municipal Schools’ operations department will be busy updating, upgrading and renovating buildings, parking lots and technology at several schools with money approved in Tuesday’s bond election.

Sixty-three percent of voters approved the $16 million bond issue. Fourteen percent of 18,059 voters eligible cast ballots in the election.

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley said his department has a list of projects that need to be done district-wide. He said the list will be prioritized and work will begin as soon as possible.

Shirley said several projects are already in the design phase.

Bond money can be used for capital outlay projects, such as construction, but not on day-to-day expenses such as salaries or textbooks, Shirley said.

In partnership with the New Mexico Public Schools Facilities Authority, the $16 million will turn into $72.9 million with PSFA’s state match money.

Clovis is an 80/20 district, which means PSFA pays 80 percent of approved projects and the district pays 20 percent. The state uses the match to help districts with a lacking tax base.

“We will do our best to be the best stewards of taxpayer dollars,” School Board President Mark Lansford said.

Lansford said he hopes the board and administration will be “very transparent” when it comes to spending the bond money.

Superintendent Terry Myers said he’s ready to do so.

“We’ll do our best to make sure our community gets the best bang for our buck,” he said. “I’ll be here and I’ll be fully accountable. We will do what we say. Hold me to it.”

The bond money will also pay the district’s 20 percent match of a proposed new middle school and a new building for Lockwood Elementary School.

Shirley said construction of the middle school should start in August 2011 with completion scheduled for May 2013.

A new Lockwood Elementary School should be complete January 2013.