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Las Cruces Public Schools to ask for $50 million to pay for deteriorating schools

Las Cruces Public Schools need...

Julie Lightfoot's classroom is packed.

"It's difficult," Lightfoot told ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom. "We are pretty crowded in here."

Lightfoot must teach Fairacres Elementary School fifth graders in a portable where there is no running water. Students must leave to use the bathroom in the main building. It can get uncomfortable.

"Right now, the temperatures range," Lightfoot said. "So in the mornings when we come in, it's very cold. So, we all have to wear jackets, and by now, it starts getting hot. The air conditioners don't keep up, because they're very small."

There are a total of seven portables at Fairacres Elementary School. There is so little space, the portables almost touch the blacktop in the schoolyard.

"We're kind of busting at the seams this year," said Gail Estrada, principal of Fairacres Elementary School "We have seen an increase in enrollment, so we really do need some additional classrooms for our students.”

Taxpayers will vote on a $50 million bond in February 2018 that would give Las Cruces Public Schools money for needed repairs.

"It would be critical if this election were not to pass," said Jo Galván, a spokeswoman for the district. "That would be very very difficult to make improvements physically in the school district."

At least one school has structural damage. Only 14 years after Columbia Elementary School was built, all the exterior walls need replacement.

"it's extremely frustrating," said Michelle Valdez, the school's principal.

Valdez says after every rain, the school floods. The custodial and administrative staff must take action immediately after every storm.

"Every time there's a rain, we know we need to get here the next morning," Valdez said. "Saturday, Sunday, early morning, late night, summers. Whatever it takes."


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