Sue Cleveland

The Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education learned Monday at its in-person meeting that the district has 132 job openings, as the largest employer in Rio Rancho.

The Human Resources Department “continues to aggressively seek out new employees,” Superintendent Sue Cleveland told the board in her introductory remarks. A few minutes later, Human Resources Executive Director Mike Chavez informed the board that “We are doing a lot of hiring,” and since May, 378 “new-to-Rio-Rancho-schools” employees had been hired.

Chavez said monthly job fairs have been taking place.  “In April, we will begin advertising for teacher positions,” he said.

Chavez added that since last May, RRPS has had just one dismissal.

Of the 132 vacancies, he said, there are 13 bus-driver vacancies, although some will soon be filled with trainees. There are also 18 special education and 11 general education openings, 7.5 custodial vacancies, three health assistant positions and 32.5 educational assistant openings. RRPS, he noted, has an estimated 900 classroom teachers.

“That has been a real challenge this year, to find folks who want to be an educational assistant,” Chavez said.

The hourly pay for educational assistant jobs will go to a minimum of $15 in the 2022-23 school year, he said, which he believes will help alleviate that category’s need.

“There are a lot of opportunities if you want to teach,” Cleveland said.


School calendar

The board also unanimously approved the 2022-23 instructional calendar, consisting of 190 instructional days.

The first day of school for sixth- and ninth-graders, designated as a “jump-start” day, is Aug. 4. The rest of the secondary grades start Aug. 5. Elementary students head to the hallways Aug. 8

Two days for the fall break, rather than one, are in the calendar. Election Day, Nov. 8, which has an expected large turnout because of the gubernatorial race, will feature virtual learning to facilitate the use of RRPS buildings for voting. It will also ease parking for voters without interrupting school activities.

Winter break will take place Dec. 22-Jan. 4. Spring break is March 20-24, 2023.

The last day of school will be May 26, the Friday before Memorial Day. No “snow days” are built into the calendar, but “extra hours” are and could alleviate a couple of snow days, which happened this school year.

Cleveland said Rio Rancho’s early-release day of Wednesday may change in the future, pending more input.


Other matters

  • The board OK’d the proposal submitted by Thompson Construction Inc. of Albuquerque for extensive work at Rio Rancho Middle School, which opened in 2002 as Rio Rancho Mid-High. The $10 million project includes HVAC work, plumbing and electrical work, ceiling tile replacement and more. Purchasing Executive Director Mike Madrid said Thompson had previously worked at Lincoln and Eagle Ridge middle schools.
  • Policy 300 (Inspection of Public Records, or IPRA) changes were discussed in a first reading. Legal counsel Loren Hatch said one change planned is to forward IPRA requests to Cleveland’s office.

New software to track and comply with IPRA requests is expected, along with training. And copies of the district’s paperwork will increase from 10 cents and 25 cents per page, depending on the size, to the actual cost of reprinting the requested paperwork, charged in advance.

The second reading of the changes to the policy, which would precede approval, will come at the board’s next meeting.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for April 11 at 5:30 p.m.