Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
The Journal visited two schools highlighted by Albuquerque Public Schools that are slated to benefit from passage of the ballot questions.
Grant Middle School
From the outside, Grant Middle School looks like an average school. Inside, roof damage has left some classrooms vacant and others with obvious problems.
Principal Paul Roney says he is hoping voters approve the ballot questions so these fixes at his school, which opened in 1961, can move forward.
In the middle school’s gym, the brown water stain on the white ceiling is apparent.
Roney told the Journal that vandals dropped bricks on the skylight, and the roof hasn’t been sealed properly since those repairs.
It’s been resealed multiple times.
APS projects $26.3 million of work is needed for the school, including a physical education building.
The Title I school with about 500 students also has damage in its classrooms.
Roney pointed to a computer class as an example, saying the class may be supplied with new technology, but the roof makes it a precarious situation with the threat of leaks.
In a neighboring classroom, holes in the ceiling were pseudo-patched with colorful posters put up by a teacher.
Roney said his educators are used to the building’s problems and make do.
But in nearby Room 206, which was supposed to be used for a special education classroom, the class couldn’t make do anymore. The classroom was closed off from students just before school started this fall. It’s unusable as the roof concaved and the tiles browned below it from the moisture.
The students were placed into portables instead.
Whittier Elementary School Principal Kim Finke says she isn’t hoping for anything fancy. Rather, she said the election revenue at her school could help with security, playground upgrades and a new drop-off and pickup area.
While the school has other needs like storage and the nurse’s office is being operated out of a tiny room that the principal refers to as a “closet,” Finke is hoping that the gravel playground is one of the first things to be upgraded and replaced with grass.
“It’s one of the worst play areas I’ve ever seen,” she said, noting that about 200 kids use it each morning.
It’s surrounded by dirt, and while the principal said her kids are “tough” and are used to picking gravel out of their knees, she wants a safer, grassier environment.
Just on the other side of the playground’s fence is roughly a half-block area used for drop-off and pickup – something Finke would like the election money to also fix.
Finke described an end-of-school frenzy with some parents parking, others picking up students all around the school and buses picking them up on the west side of Whittier.
The school, which was built in 1948, needs to create a streamlined system for parents, Finke said, adding that she feels a student or parent could get hit by a car with the current layout.
“It’s a great little building but it was built for kids in the ’40s,” Finke said.
Finke is also looking forward to security upgrades – part of a plan being implemented across the district – including the creation of one, secure point of entry.
According to APS documents, the Southeast Albuquerque school is slated for $12.6 million in projects including a field and playground upgrades.
Thirty-five new classrooms and other building work is also planned.