Voters decided Tuesday on four statewide bond issues that would provide more than $175 million for senior citizens' centers, libraries, public schools and colleges and universities.

Three of the bonds were approved, but the bond for higher education was too close to call Wednesday.

San Juan County voters narrowly disapproved of that $156 million bond issue, with 51 percent voting against it.

Local school officials set to benefit from the higher education bond are not optimistic.

It failed by about 2,500 votes, according to the unofficial results.

"It doesn't look hopeful," said Gayle Dean, the director of the San Juan College Foundation. "It was a much higher amount and therefore a bigger (tax increase) than the other three (bonds). That worried me all along because it was such a substantial amount of money."

The college will receive $2 million if the bond passes. The college planned to purchase equipment for the school of trades and technology and build a classroom for the renewable energy program, Dean said.

The bond would raise property taxes a total of about $100 per $100,000 of assessed value over a 10-year span, according to estimates from the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration.

"People are just watching their pocketbooks, understandably so," Dean said.

No programs at the college will be cut or teachers laid off if the initiative fails, she said.

"You can never count on this money until it's there, so San Juan College will immediately look to other possibilities to fund these important projects," she said.


County voters favored bond issues that would provide $7.8 million for senior citizens' centers and $5.1 million for public schools.

They deadlocked on the $7 million library bond, with half favoring it and the other half voting against it.

General obligation bonds are backed by property taxes.

Because it was approved statewide, the library bond will bring more than $400,000 to libraries throughout the county. Libraries buy books and other media for their collections and technology such as computers with the funding, library officials said.

The Aztec Public Library will spend its almost $9,000 in bond money on books, CDs and DVDs during the next two fiscal years, library director Leanne Hathcock said.

"It's just so valuable," Hathcock said about the funding. "We're all facing downsizing."

Voters approved two of five proposed constitutional amendments, including one that will provide free tuition to certain war veterans.

Almost 80 percent of San Juan County voters cast ballots in favor of that measure, according to unofficial returns.

Another amendment winning approval will create a property tax exemption for property owned by government-chartered veterans' organizations. Almost 63 percent of San Juan County voters approved of the amendment.

A third amendment, which would have allowed the Legislature to determine whether felons can vote before finishing their sentences, needed 75 percent approval and was supported by 57 percent in unofficial returns.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.