Is APS Worth It?

Before heading off to the polls, it’s always wise to take a look at the sample ballot, you know, so you don’t end up accidentally voting for Pat Buchanan. Preparing for tomorrow’s APS special election, we find, in English and Spanish:

“Shall the Albuquerque Public School District issue $351,000,000 of general obligation bonds to erect, remodel, make additions to and furnish; school buildings within the district, to purchase or improve school grounds, to purchase computer software and hardware for student use in public schools, and to provide matching funds for capital outlay projects funded pursuant to the Public School Capital Outlay Act?”

This language was erected by someone clearly interested in the bond measure’s passge–plenty of detail of all the good things that will be done for the children, but nary a word on who is going to pay or how much. Who will own this ‘obligation’? How will this obligation be repaid?
Expand on the benefits, obfuscate the costs, and any deal sounds sweeter. The ballot measure should state in plain terms that passage would raise property tax rates by 5.6%, forcing the owner of a $100,000 house to pay an additional $71.32 per year in taxes.
Given that APS only graduates 52.8% of the students who enter its schools, and of those who enroll at New Mexico’s institutions of higher learning, 44.1% need remedial classes, it seems unlikely that APS is adequately preparing its students to face this kind of decision as educated adults.
But this is no surprise coming from a school district better known for its conflicts of interest, for paying huge settlements to administrators with substance abuse problems, and for blaming failing schools on the ‘diversity’ of its own students, than for any success in actually educating.
$351 million that actually improves the education received by APS students might very well be worth the increase in property taxes. But what worth is $351 million in the hands of Albuquerque Public Schools? $351 million dollars breaks out to about $3884.29 for each and every one of APS’s 90,364 students, most of the average private school tuition in this country.
If you were going to spend $3884.29 on your child’s education, would you make out the check to APS?