Although having an all-virtual format for students in the 2021-22 school year won’t be a money-maker, Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent Sue Cleveland told the board of education at the May 24 special meeting that it’s still a benefit for the district.
She didn’t want to lose students in the coming school year or beyond — although there’s no guarantee the virtual choice will remain available after next school year.
“(There are) 182 families that are asking for this approach,” she said.
“Should we lose these children to charter or home schools? (Virtual learning) could be temporary, could be permanent,” she added, hoping the students who should have been in kindergarten in 2020-21 but were kept at home will be enrolled in kindergarten in the coming school year.
Board member Wynne Coleman, still curious about the numbers, got a response from Chief Operating Officer Mike Baker.
“Essentially, we’re looking at about a break-even,” he said, citing revenues from the state around $1.4 million and expenditures — not counting one-time expenditures for furniture, computer technology and general supplies — of about $1.2 million.

Joe Harris Elementary School is slated to be the headquarters for kindergarten through fifth-grade virtual learning, for families who choose that option, in the 2021-22 school year. Courtesy photo.

Board members voted unanimously to approve the virtual schools, headquartered at Joe Harris Elementary for K-5 and at Cyber Academy for secondary students, for a resolution mandated by the state.
The board also unanimously OK’d the schedule of board meetings for the 2021-22 school year, which amounts to meetings on the second and fourth Mondays of every month, except for November, December, March and May.
The next board meeting is slated for June 14, when members will be back in the board room, although proceedings will be live-streamed on the RRPS website, rrps.net.

Gary Herron | Observer staff writer