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Superintendent thanks voters for special election

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Hangar 84 Robotics Club show their pins, T-shirts and posters that they printed at the I-center to Roswell Independent School District’s board of education on Tuesday night. The club also presented their desire to participate in two robotics competitions later this year for the board to consider. (Alison Penn Photo)

McIlroy says bond election and mill levy passed with high approval ratings

Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy expressed gratitude for the passing of the general obligation (GO) bond and Senate Bill 9 2-mill levy in the recent special election.

At the school board meeting on Tuesday night, McIlroy reflected on the special election, where both Roswell Independent School District (RISD) measures were passed by Chaves County voters on Feb. 5. She said the GO bond passed with 70 percent approval rating and mill levy passed with 65 percent approval rating.

For the mail-in ballot election, 30,121 ballots were sent out and 6,663 valid votes were returned to the county clerk. The votes were officially canvassed on Feb. 8 by the Chaves County Board of Commissioners.

“We were one of the very few districts across the state that were successful in this special election,” McIlroy said, saying she took the measure for granted initially, until she was informed by another educational leader that RISD was the only successful district he had heard of in the state after the election.

The GO bond, funds used for large-scale school construction, was approved 4,311 to 1,822 and from this $14 million will go to local public schools. The 2-mill levy funds, an extension of an existing property tax, are used for school maintenance, repairs, upgrades and technology improvements. The 2-mill levy garnered 3,996 votes in favor and 2,194 votes against the measure.

Another 2-mill levy was also passed for Hagerman Municipal Schools in the recent election.

To publicly show the district’s appreciation, McIlroy held up a colorful graphic poster and explained those posters will be displayed in the back window of all of the buses and on the front windows of RISD schools.

“We want everybody that sees something related to RISD to know that we appreciate and thank our voters,” McIlroy said. “And quite frankly, whether you voted for it or against it, whether you voted at all, I want our people in Roswell to know that we are going to be good stewards of that money and that they can trust that we are going to invest it exactly as we proposed to them. And, that we are going to be completely 100 percent transparent about how that money is spent and where it goes — and they can have every confidence that their money will absolutely get them an even more incredible school district …”

The Friends of Roswell Schools were recognized at the school board meeting and McIlroy thanked Yasine Armstrong, Cymantha Liakos and Jaqueline Miller for their efforts in campaigning for the bond election.

At a school board meeting in October, Chad Cole, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, explained that RISD employees and the superintendent were prohibited to campaign for the special bond election by encouraging residents to vote a certain way, however they could encourage voter registration and returning of ballots. Cole also clarified that the district’s resources could not be utilized to campaign for the special election, but a separate campaign group would be allowed to reach the voters.

The “Friends of Roswell Schools” Facebook page was launched in January for the campaign group. A video titled “Support Roswell’s Kids!” was published on the page and other information was shared up until the election. McIlroy said the three women, as the Friends of Roswell Schools, fundraised for boosting Facebook posts and for other informational publications, while getting the message across for the voters to resonate within various media formats.

McIlroy called Armstrong, Liakos and Miller the “dynamos” and “brilliant minds” behind the Friends of Roswell Schools. McIlroy thanked the Friends of Roswell Schools saying both the bond and mill levy passed “in large part” because of their work and “without which we would not be able to continue to do such amazing things.”

“We are thrilled that the voters of Roswell continue to support the children in our community,” Armstrong, who is the treasurer of Friends of Roswell Schools, wrote in a statement to the Daily Record. “The passage of the GO Bond and the mill levy ensures that our schools receive the funding they need to achieve high-quality school renovations that improve safety, security, maintenance, and leads to a strong overall learning environment for our students.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.