BY SHARON SEITZ
New Mexico Schools will be required to add HOURS to the school year, not DAYS. This is important! HOURS, not DAYS!!! So why is LAPS trying to add DAYS (2-5 weeks of DAYS) to our school calendar and take away 2-5 weeks of summer break?? Follow the money.
LAPS calendar changes will dramatically impact everyone (local businesses, schools, extra-curricular activities, summer camps, etc.)!!!! See the attached LAPS presentation presented Tuesday 3/14/23. Jennifer Guy, Acting Superintendent, pushed the board to get rid of the current “Traditional” calendar (without community discussion) and only focus on adding more DAYS (not just HOURS) to the school year and removing the long summer break. They will take Away 2-5 Weeks from Summer Break and ADD 2-5 weeks MORE School DAYS!!
NM State passed HB130 (https://nmlegis.gov/Sessions/23%20Regular/bills/house/HB0130.pdf) (waiting Governor’s signature) to increase student HOURS to 1140.
LAPS would only receive more discretionary money if they increase their DAYS (not just HOURS) to more than 180 Days (our current calendar days). The Acting Superintendent pushed her agenda to get more money, thus more DAYS. See HB130, Section 3 regarding “K-12 Plus School”.
Elementary schools only need to increase HOURS by 78 hours (1140 – 1062 [current]), which would easily be accomplished by using 2 hours on Wednesday afternoons (currently no school).
High School only needs to increase HOURS by 25 hours (1140 – 1125 [current]).
Middle School requires NO CHANGES as they currently have 1170 HOURS.
See Slide 6 in attached LAPS presentation.
If we only need to add a few HOURS, then why is the Acting Superintendent, calendar committee, and the LAPS Board trying to dramatically change the calendar and add DAYS (not just a few HOURS) to the school year? And why do this without clear communication with the parents and the community?
And while we’re discussing calendar changes, why aren’t we considering a four-day school week, which is allowed in HB130? In fact, the TrackBill website (https://trackbill.com/bill/new-mexico-house-bill-130-k-5-plus-program/2327501/) shows that with a 4-Day School Week (7.5 Hour/Day * 152 Total Days = 1,140 Total Hours), we could achieve the required 1,140 HOURS in 152 Days.
Where is the real pro and con analysis of ALL Options? What problems are we really trying to solve? What are the proposed daily hours for new calendar options? The Acting Superintendent conveniently pushed the LAPS Board to remove our current “Traditional” calendar structure (long summers) from the discussion, but shouldn’t that still be on the table?
Please, we need the community to stand up and shout to be heard!!!
A community meeting (I assume led by the Acting Superintendent) will meet via Zoom on Monday March 20 at 5:30pm (https://www.smore.com/app/reporting/out/ub6ms?u=https%3A%2F%2Fus06web.zoom.us%2Fj%2F5056632222%3F&t=Zoom%20on%20Monday,%20March%2020%20from%205:30%20-%207:00&w=w-3872632299&i=&l=l-7112683800 )
Email comments to LAPS Public Comments: email@example.com
See LAPS Public Comments here: https://groups.google.com/a/laschools.net/g/public.comments/c/vnogOMcYWQ0
Contact your LAPS Board members:
- Antonio Jaurigue, President firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ellen Specter, Vice President email@example.com
- Christine Bernstein, Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org
- Melanie Colgan, Member email@example.com
- Sondra Wyman, Member firstname.lastname@example.org
By mid-to-late-April, LAPS will have their final revised calendar, so act fast!
The Acting Superintendent alludes to collaborating with local businesses, while in fact she has not.
Major impacts include:
- Sports (children MUST participate even during newly scheduled school breaks, thus losing time off)
- Student Jobs and Internships
- Local Business “Summer” Jobs turn into 1-2 weeks here and there
- Family Vacations – unable to take extended vacations since summer is too short
- Child Care
- Local Businesses
- Teacher Retention
- Summer Camps
The LAPS Board meeting mentioned that Las Cruces and Tucumcari implemented a “Balanced” school calendar this past year.
The following email was sent to Students on Sunday March 12 at 11:27am, but Parents did not receive this email. Parents were sent the LAPS Newsletter (https://www.smore.com/ub6ms-laps-newsletter?ref=email) on Sunday March 12 at 1:05pm, which mentioned the March 20 community meeting BUT DID NOT mention the March 14 LAPS Board meeting where they discussed the calendar changes. AND, the slides (see attached PDF) used at the March 14 LAPS Board meeting were hidden down in the survey link (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScenHGdRSfYBpujpy-7gZIpoBlaGqh21z_antlLAdVQlV_wNw/viewform) sent in the newsletter and student email.