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AIMS expansion forces RRPS to defend its territory

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If there’s one lesson to be learned over the past few months, it’s that you don’t mess with RRPS. They are using everything within their arsenal, and our tax dollars, to send this message loud and clear. The RRPS school board has now filed in court against the Public Education Commission and Public Education Department Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera for issuing the waiver that would finalize AIMS charter school’s move into Rio Rancho. Their mission: to get the waiver repealed and dissuade other would-be charter schools from entering their territory.

The water is so muddy at this point, it’s hard to get a clear picture of what exactly happened, or didn’t happen, to cause all the ruckus. AIMS thought it had crossed all its t’s and dotted all its i’s. In February 2013, AIMS’s expansion was approved by the PEC. Now, the commission has apparently buckled with the weight of RRPS pressure and changed its tune. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that if RRPS had given its “blessing,” AIMS would have sailed into Rio Rancho.

The AIMS situation … is not chartered under any one school district. It is chartered directly under the state. Therein lies the problem. RRPS argues that Secretary Skandera abused her discretion in granting a waiver to AIMS, because AIMS did not have the “support” of the Albuquerque Public Schools district in expanding outside of its boundaries.

Interesting. Charter schools not chartered under the authority of a school district are then supposed to be subjects of whatever school district they enter? Doesn’t this seem like a conflict of interest on the part of the school districts, considering that AIMS is their competition?

It is understandable that RRPS feels threatened by AIMS. AIMS does much more with much less and has been nationally awarded. While RRPS may not be the frumpy fraulein with the hairy mole on her lip, she certainly doesn’t want the supermodel of schools standing so close. It reminds me of the old commercial “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” AIMS is a beautiful example of success in education and an opportunity for our kids that could steal the limelight from RRPS.

Our school board has lost its ability to do what is right, for the right reason. Its actions reflect a desire to shackle our kids to RRPS and snuff out exciting possibilities that many kids would not have in Rio Rancho Public Schools. Perhaps they have lost their perspective. The parents of Rio Rancho need to be looking toward the two school board positions that come up in 2015. We can do better than this.

Learn more about this situation and the truth about funding education at rioranchoteaparty.org.

Renee Wilkins is president of the Rio Rancho Tea Party.

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