This former Alliance Data building is where most of Rio Rancho Public Schools’ Career Technical Education courses will be taught, starting in August, 2023. The district is imploring the state legislature to dedicate a revenue stream for CTE here and throughout the state. (Gary Herron/Observer)
List includes raises for educational assistants, ongoing funds for behavioral health services
Four of the five members of the Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education endorsed nine resolutions for the New Mexico School Board Association to carry to the 2023 state legislature.
The board adopted the resolutions last month, and Monday — the evening of the meeting — was the deadline for submission to the NMSBA, although Superintendent Sue Cleveland said she’d been assured if the documents were received Tuesday it would be fine.
The board only spent a few minutes on that item until board member Jessica Tyler moved to approve and submit all nine as they stood, Noreen Scott seconded the motion and the vote, as expected, went 4-0. Gary Tripp was absent.
Those resolutions are:
- Investing in New Mexico’s future through Career-Technical Education (Resolution 22-002): Prodding the state to not only invest in CTE programs, it also requests the dedication of an ongoing revenue stream for CTE and to fund its teachers. The resolution further resolves that the emphasis be placed on programs and students’ financial assistance that support current and future job-market needs, including information technology and cyber-security, for example, as well as trades where shortages currently exist.
- Meeting a statewide shortage and compensation for educational assistants (22-003): Increasing compensation from the recently raised hourly minimum of $15 to $20 an hour and consider changes in benefit costs, which often negate pay raises.
- A provision of competitive benefits packages for EAs (22-004): Asking the governor and legislature to examine the benefits packages offered to EAs, as compared to other employers, and make it a competitive fund package by expanding it upward.
- Funding actual transportation and instructional materials costs (22-005): This asks for better funding for educational materials than already provided for, as well as improving the formula as it applies to transportation, an area in which RRPS has been in the red for $1 million or more annually – basically, asking the state to reimburse districts for the actual expenditures of instructional materials and transportation.
- Support for school safety (22-006): Because different districts and schools have different needs when it comes to security issues, this asks for adequate funding to improve safety and security in schools statewide, as well as allow the districts and law enforcement agencies to determine how and where to spend those dollars to improve security.
- Improved funding for protective maintenance of facilities (22-007): An increase in the funding for supporting preventive school facility maintenance needs, as determined in districts’ five-year master plans and designate a set percentage of available capital outlay funds on a formula-based basis, to adequately fund various projects identified in those five-year master plans.
- Adequate support and funding for school mental and behavioral health services (22-008): This asks for adequate, ongoing funding for the provision of behavioral and mental health services, not only for students with identifiable behavioral disorders, but also to: train teachers to identify students with mental health issues; train and support teachers to meet the social and emotional issues of students daily; provide intensive short-term interventions to help those students with behavioral and mental issues; provide an adequate number of counselors, nurses, psychologists/psychiatrists, social workers and other professionals for ongoing support and referrals of students and even families facing mental health issues requiring long-term and specialized care; and provide an adequate community safety net system for referrals to hospitals and counseling, considering schools’ limitations, in providing those mental health services.
- Providing capital funding for early childhood centers (22-009): After the legislature indicated support for early childhood education in 2021, some districts have seen an increase in that enrollment, and RRPS wants the legislature to allow it to be flexible in building facilities its educational strategies and needs require, and thus waive the state match and offset requirements to allow districts to most effectively manage the limited capital funds they have to meet students’ needs at all grade levels.
- An appreciation for improved teacher and staff compensation (22-010): This is just a huge thank-you to the governor and the legislature for the improved compensation teachers and staff began receiving last year, because those “salary increases are making a difference in our schools.”