The Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education, with board members Jeffery Morgan and Jessica Tyler elsewhere on business, breezed through its first September regular meeting in less than an hour on Sept. 11.

An important item to note for Rio Rancho residents wasn’t on the agenda but was announced early: three meetings for the community to attend and learn more, as well as question, the $80 million Nov. 7 bond election, ramifications of Senate Bill 9 on the district, as well as the two board member seats also up for election.

Those meetings, each from 5-6:30 p.m., will be held:

  • Monday, Sept. 18, in the Rio Rancho High School cafeteria;
  • Tuesday, oct. 10, at Maggie Cordova Elementary; and
  • Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the RRPS training center, 500 Laser Road.

Superintendent Sue Cleveland also told the board that district representatives were about to meet with the Legislative Education Study Committee, hopeful of altering the transportation formula, sharing RRPS’s information to indicate the multi-million-dollar annual losses in transportation.

“We have lost a lot of money over the last decade,” she said. “It comes right out of our classrooms … and puts our district at a disadvantage.”

After Cleveland’s opening comments, the board heard a summary of 11 online public comments read by board President Amanda Galbraith, and then heard four in-person comments.

Most of the comments centered around the recent concerns about “safe zones,” with some folks considering them as being political in nature and thus not belonging in a classroom; others want meaningful safe zone signage available for the growing number of LGBTQ students.

The board also heard an update on the new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software from Tyler Technologies, installed for the finance department, intrinsic for the entire district, including human resources. Cleveland termed the conversion leading to improved efficiency and transparency, and that the information is “legally available.”

As is the case when upgrading software, she said, RRPS will run a “dual system for a year,” which leads to “double the work.”

“There are still some challenges,” she noted, adding that the conversion began last October and was completed in July.

Still, she said, it’s been a “successful transition.”

The board also heard second readings of four policies, none of which received dissension and passed 3-0: Policy 606 (District Credit Card Usage), Policy 607 (Fiscal Accounting and Reporting), Policy 608 (Financial System and Expenditure Reports) and Policy 609 (Budget Transfers).

“This is the first one that met all the criteria we were looking for,” Cleveland added.

Cleveland also explained a great way for the district to supplement its teacher roster, informing those in attendance or watching online of the Teacher Quality Partnership, which offers $62,00 grants to those with a college degree who might want to teach, and will receive a master’s degree along the way.

“There are some strings attached,” Cleveland noted, which include a three-year commitment to teach in science, math or special education. She advised those interested to contact the RRPS Human resources Department for more information.

The next regular board meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 25.