By Thomas Garcia
Freedom New Mexico
The Tucumcari Public School Board discussed the need for additional fund-raisers and Capital Outlay funds to aid in the cost of the new high school.
The board approved the design for the new high school and construction is scheduled to begin in November, Tucumcari schools superintendent Aaron McKinney said.
The board needs to approach the state Legislature for assistance with the new high school project, board member Doug Powers said during Thursday’s meeting.
This project will be will be done in two phases, allowing classes to continue uninterrupted. The first phase could be completed by August 2009, McKinney said.
The school received $3 million from the 2006 school bond cycle and the state has matched 75 percent of that bonded amount.
Currently the school has $14 million needed for the $23 million project and the additional money could be sought through legislative appropriations or from the next bonding cycle in 2011, McKinney said.
“It has been three years since Tucumcari Schools has asked for any assistance from the Legislature,” McKinney said.
The board’s goal in seeking additional funds is to help offset the rising construction cost and the purchasing of equipment for the high school.
Approaching alumni for donations and fund-raisers are another way to raise funds for the new high school, according board member Albert Mitchell.
“Mesalands was able to raise quite a bit of money for their Dinosaur Museum,” Mitchell said. “Next summer would be a key time to engage in fund raising with the alumni in town for the reunion and the centennial celebration.”
Board members discussed possibly hiring or appointment of a fundraiser/grant coordinator for the Tucumcari schools.
The board’s focus quickly turned to the schools results for the New Mexico Adequate Yearly Progress testing.
Assistant Superintendent Dennis Roch used pie charts and bar graphs to illustrate the progress and development of the schools testing since 2005.
Tucumcari Middle School made AYP with the grades six through eight being tested. Only the 11th-graders were tested in the high school, which did not make AYP, Roch said.
Many steps have been taken to improve the performance and proficiency of the students, Roch said.
Those steps include changes in high the school math department, algebra 1 being offered to eighth graders, teacher’s aides for each third-grade classroom and additional reading support materials.
“The short cycle testing that the school uses throughout the school year will give us a good prediction of next year’s scores,” Roch said.
Other items before the board included:
l The board’s first reading of proposed policy changes for sick leave, personal, emergency and religious leave, vacation and holidays and use of technology services.