ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Rio Rancho school district is celebrating its 20th birthday, and the occasion will be marked by a series of events and celebrations.
The $76,000 price tag for all the events will be covered by donations from local businesses and individuals, Rio Rancho Public Schools spokeswoman Kim Vesely said.
Donors include the district’s food contractor Sodexho, Don Chalmers Ford, U.S. Bank and New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union. Superintendent Sue Cleveland said the list of donors has not yet been broken down by dollar amount.
The district was formed in 1993 after it broke away from Albuquerque Public Schools and began operating in 1994. Cleveland was its first and only superintendent.
“We’ve tried to make it (the celebration) special,” Cleveland said Friday. “But we’ve also tried to be careful too and cover it without using taxpayer money.”
Cleveland said staff time and some supplies are going into the celebration, but the district has not analyzed the cost.
The largest expense is a book documenting the comprehensive history of RRPS that the public can purchase. Hugh Prather, who was an interim superintendent when the district was being formed, is writing the book. Vesely said he’s also helping the district gather, consolidate and archive historical material.
“We feel it is important to do this project now because we are beginning to lose many of they key people involved in the district’s creation and development,” she said in an email. “Some have already passed on.”
Prather will be paid $13,300, publishing will cost $25,600, and design, layout and marketing will come to $11,700.
The district this school year is amping up its annual welcome-back event for staff to include a 20-year anniversary focus. It will be the major celebration marking the district’s two decades.
It will be at the Santa Ana Start Center on Aug. 11 and will cost up to $6,500. Cleveland said that is the only venue that could accommodate all the staff and everyone who was invited.
“Our first staff meeting was held in the gymnasium at Lincoln Middle School,” Cleveland said. “It was crowded but we all fit. That should give some perspective to how much we’ve grown.”
The event will include all current staff, some former staff and community members who played an important role in the district’s start. Cleveland said there is limited seating, but the public can attend and nobody will be turned away.
There will be a dinner at Rio Rancho High School for “key community members” who were involved in creating and developing the district. Vesely said that most likely will cost $4,000.
Finally, the district is producing a 30-minute video for about $15,000. The video is a student project under the supervision of RRPS staff.