Los Lunas Schools to ask village to help with swimming pool funding

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The Los Lunas Board of Education approved a cost-sharing memorandum of agreement devised by school officials for operations of the Los Lunas High School swimming pool.

The MOA is to be delivered to the village administrator.

School district officials met with the Los Lunas Village Administrator Gregory Martin, and Michael Jaramillo, the village's parks and recreation director, last month to discuss sharing pool expenses again this year.

"They as well, would like to keep the pool open," said Los Lunas Superintendent Bernard Saiz.

The district is asking for a maximum of $35,000 — $5,000 more than it received from the village last year, in order to offset roof repair, estimated to cost about $10,000, said Claire Cieremans, the school district's chief financial officer.

"Now, we will present the MOA to the village of Los Lunas, and they will have to present it before their council," Cieremans said. "We're hoping to have that done in January or February, because we actually start preparing for the opening of the pool in late February."

Last August, school officials were considering closing the pool indefinitely because the costly repairs and expenses of pool operations exacerbate federal education budget cuts.

The superintendent had said the school doesn't even use the pool for the school swim team or for physical education, since it is an outdoor pool.

In fact, the district leases time at the indoor Isleta Community Center pool for the school's swim team, Cieremans said.

"It's covered, they can utilize it year-round, and it meets the requirements for the length of the pool," she said.

The Los Lunas High School swimming pool was built in 1980. It is an L-shaped pool, about 30-by-40 feet at the diving end, and 75-by-40 feet in the swimming area, with swim lanes 25 yards in length.

The high school pool is the only recreational pool in the village to provide students and community members a place to swim during the summer months.

"Every year, closing the pool is a part of our budget talks, because it doesn't produce enough revenue to sustain itself," Cieremans said. "When you're looking at making several hundred thousand dollars or a million dollars worth of (budget) cuts, you have to have those conversations.

"We're always having to utilize additional dollars from operational (the school budget) to supplement pool operations."

Last year, the school district approached the village about cost-sharing pool operations, and received $30,000 from the village.

The district also uses part of the 2 mill levy for maintenance and repair of the pool, but not for staffing the pool.

If the district didn't use the 2 mill levy money for maintenance of the pool, it would have that much more funding for maintenance of schools, Cieremans said.

The district and village partner on several youth sport and recreational activities, and are considering a partnership to enclose the pool, or build a larger indoor swimming pool.

Before the economy tanked, the village had an aquatic center on its wish list.

"We did discuss the possibility of partnering for a larger aquatic center in the future," Saiz said. "But that's still some time off. But it was a very good meeting.

"They were very open to partnering with us to provide a facility for the community."


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.