School board urges public to turn up pressure on Santa Fe - Albuquerque Journal

School board urges public to turn up pressure on Santa Fe

Rio Rancho Public School Superintendent V. Sue Cleveland speaks at a special public meeting Monday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)
Rio Rancho Public School Superintendent V. Sue Cleveland speaks at a special public meeting Monday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Rio Rancho’s school board took a strong stand against budget cuts on Monday, unanimously passing a resolution that calls on the public to lobby lawmakers for education funding.

The district held a special community meeting to discuss the dire financial picture and rally against any further reductions. About 250 people attended, filling the main board room and an overflow area.

“If the cuts continue, Rio Rancho Public Schools will not look anything like it does now,” Superintendent Sue Cleveland warned. “We don’t sound the alarm very often.”

The board’s resolution, passed 5-0, specifically asks concerned citizens to “jam the phone lines to Santa Fe” and demand “no more cuts.”

Already, the district has lost $3.8 million from the current fiscal year, with more reductions on the horizon as the state works to cover deficits tied to declining oil and gas revenue.

Under the proposals being considered by the Legislature, RRPS would face an additional reduction of roughly $1 million to $3 million for fiscal year 2018.

Administrators have said they will have to consider every option to cover the cut, including layoffs and district-wide furloughs.

Concerned residents, parents and teachers pack a Rio Rancho Public Schools Board special public meeting to discuss the dire financial outlook for education in the city.
Concerned residents, parents and teachers pack a Rio Rancho Public Schools Board special public meeting to discuss the dire financial outlook for education in the city.

Some programs may also be eliminated – the district has already dropped Tales of Joy, an initiative that brings therapy dogs to schools to read with children.

“As a school board, it is our job to prepare our students for the future, but when our budgets are cut, with little to no regard for what our children need to survive, I have to ask, better yet I have to know, where am I supposed to tell my children to go?” asked board member Ryan Parra.

Parra said his constituents are very worried about the budget – in the last week, he received 50 phone calls and countless emails.

Board member Ramon Montaño noted that Rio Rancho Public Schools is often held up as an example for its strong performance on standardized tests, but the state has not provided adequate money to reward those successes.

RRPS is consistently near the bottom of the state’s 89 districts for per pupil funding. It would receive an additional $10 million if it were funded at the same level as neighboring Albuquerque Public Schools.

“We get the praises but not the funding,” Montaño said.

During the meeting’s public forum, Ed Lovato, a Rio Rancho native with two young children, complimented the board for speaking out about the state’s funding formula.

“Rio Rancho has always had an excellent school district staffed with hard-working, competent, caring administrators, teachers, coaches and staff,” Lovato said. “In my view, Rio Rancho’s public schools are its crown jewels and a major factor for families like mine in deciding where to raise our children.”

Lovato told the board he would push to try to protect the district from further cuts.

Rio Rancho’s teachers union, the National Education Association of New Mexico, held its own rally at the Roundhouse on Monday morning to fight for funding.

Charles Goodmacher, NEA-New Mexico spokesman, told the Journal he is encouraged that so many community members are taking an interest in the issue.

“The call to jam the phone lines in Santa Fe is right on,” he said.

Goodmacher urged callers to ask lawmakers to raise revenue so additional education cuts aren’t necessary.

Home » News » Rio Rancho News » School board urges public to turn up pressure on Santa Fe

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




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

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
'Early Show with Alax': In new show, an alien ...
ABQnews Seeker
The state's Early Childhood Education Department ... The state's Early Childhood Education Department is producing a program designed to inform families with little ones. Here's how to watch.
2
Albuquerque Public Schools board has established these lofty goals ...
ABQnews Seeker
Making more students proficient in early ... Making more students proficient in early literacy and math, as well as better preparing them for life after high school are among the district ...
3
Albuquerque’s fire department and school district have combined forces ...
ABQnews Seeker
Zeke Estrada, 17, has known he ... Zeke Estrada, 17, has known he wanted to be a firefighter for years. After studying to become an EMT at the University of New ...
4
What do staff and parents think about APS' plan ...
ABQnews Seeker
Superintendent says while consolidating schools is ... Superintendent says while consolidating schools is always tough, the plan was a long time coming for the district
5
Where, when and how far would students move under ...
ABQnews Seeker
Several other schools might see boundary ... Several other schools might see boundary changes that would take effect in 2024
6
APS wants to turn some schools into early childhood ...
ABQnews Seeker
Move is aimed at making early ... Move is aimed at making early childhood services more accessible
7
Here's how APS chose the schools they're considering closing ...
ABQnews Seeker
Officials recommended that five schools, most ... Officials recommended that five schools, most of them near the North Valley area, be repurposed and have their students put in different schools
8
Multiple ABQ schools may be on the chopping block ...
ABQnews Seeker
In effort to right-size, district considers ... In effort to right-size, district considers plan to repurpose campuses
9
‘It’s about ... hope’: Albuquerque Sign Language Academy unveils ...
ABQnews Seeker
The roughly $31 million project is ... The roughly $31 million project is slated to be completed in fall 2024