Grassroots political group's video blasts RRPS, backs AIMS charter - Albuquerque Journal

Grassroots political group’s video blasts RRPS, backs AIMS charter

A grassroots political organization has posted a scathing video criticizing Rio Rancho Public Schools for fighting the Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science’s attempts to open a location in the district.

AIMS circulated the video to parents and supporters Thursday, shortly after it was uploaded to Get Real Rio Rancho’s Facebook page.

Kathy Sandoval, AIMS director, said the highly rated charter school was not involved with the video’s production, but she is happy to have the support.

“They made this video because they have just about had enough,” Sandoval said. “I think it (the video) is pretty accurate. They did their research.”

The seven-minute video – titled “RRPS meets its match in fight of the decade” – begins with a dramatic statement written across the screen: “Is it Ok to give up on our kids? Rio Rancho Public Schools thinks so.”

Using brightly colored cartoons, the video reviews the history of the four-year fight between AIMS, “the underdog,” and RRPS, a “mammoth public school system bent on stopping them at any cost.”

Renee Wilkins, GRRR co-founder, told the Journal she hopes viewers will contact elected officials and ask them to take a “very visible, vocal, public stand” against the district’s “bullying campaign.”

“In simple terms, it is really abuse of power, and the weight of this is on our school board since they are ultimately in control,” said Wilkins, a mother of three who helped launch GRRR in 2015.

RRPS spokeswoman Kim Vesely said the real issue is AIMS’ violation of state law.

In 2014, the district sued the New Mexico Public Education Department in Santa Fe’s 1st Judicial District Court over a waiver granted to AIMS, allowing it to expand from the UNM South campus to UNM West – in Rio Rancho’s boundaries – without applying for a new charter.

Typically, charter schools must be reauthorized to open a location outside their original district.

“The only thing we ask and have always asked is that AIMS expand in a manner consistent with state law as established by the Legislature,” Vesely said in an emailed statement.

In May, Judge David K. Thomson ruled in AIMS’ favor, saying PED acted within its authority in granting the waiver. The RRPS board appealed, claiming Thomson’s ruling used “an overbroad interpretation of the scope of the Secretary’s authority.”

The fight is now focused on open meetings law: AIMS argues that RRPS’ lawsuit is moot because the Board of Education did not vote publicly to file it.

RRPS believes a public vote is not required in “matters pertaining to threatened or pending litigation,” Vesely said.

Sandoval vowed to keep pushing until AIMS’ Rio Rancho campus opens its doors.

“This has been four years of my life, and I don’t know how many taxpayer dollars for a lawsuit that doesn’t serve Rio Rancho,” she said.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Lobo/Aggie basketball rivalry returns after 2 years
ABQnews Seeker
After two years, the Lobo/Aggie men's ... After two years, the Lobo/Aggie men's basketball rivalry is back Tuesday night in Las Cruces.
2
Sunport has second-busiest stretch in 20 months
ABQnews Seeker
65,000 holiday travelers reported over 5-day ... 65,000 holiday travelers reported over 5-day period
3
New trial begins for Rio Arriba sheriff
ABQnews Seeker
James Lujan is charged with helping ... James Lujan is charged with helping a friend avoid arrest in 2017
4
Elk poached at Bandelier National Monument
ABQnews Seeker
Park rangers are seeking the public's ... Park rangers are seeking the public's help in finding those responsible for that killing, as well as the death of a mule deer
5
NMSU has nutty idea for citations
ABQnews Seeker
Donations of peanut butter will be ... Donations of peanut butter will be accepted in lieu of some parking fines
6
Cloud seeding company retracts application
ABQnews Seeker
Proposed project drew opposition from locals, ... Proposed project drew opposition from locals, organizations over 'potential for environmental damage'
7
UNM women to show what they've learned
ABQnews Seeker
Mike Bradbury is willing to count ... Mike Bradbury is willing to count his team's latest Texas road trip as a learning experience on one condition: His team had to actually ...
8
Pre-winter warmup brings highs 10-20 degrees above average
ABQnews Seeker
Rain chances for state expected to ... Rain chances for state expected to be slim until early next week
9
Five killed in June balloon crash died of blunt ...
ABQnews Seeker
A toxicology report on late pilot ... A toxicology report on late pilot Nick Meleski found he had marijuana and cocaine in his sy