In a recent post on Facebook, Socorro Consolidated Schools board president Dave Hicks endeavored to explain the reasons why the board adopted the current 2023-24 calendar, initially known as “Calendar C.”
In his post, he writes that three calendars were sent for comment to staff and community before the 2023 legislature dismissed. But the board was “largely in the dark on what would be passed.” Hicks also said, “PED (New Mexico Public Education Department) did not tell us how the new incentives would work.”
Hicks is referring to the opportunities available to school districts that followed the mandated increase in hours of instruction. Instead of adding minutes to the school day, the decision was to add six days to the school year. “Calendar C would receive $1.378 million in additional funding.”
“To me, the question became ‘how can the district take advantage of these incentives… (and keep) our precious four-day week…’”
Hicks’ statement continues:
“To answer that question you must understand the Board’s other dilemmas:
“How do we feed our Students on the roads for athletics and activities? We currently do not.
“How do we address the social and emotional needs of our students as of now we are extremely short-staffed. Additional funding will enable more FTE (full-time equivalents) to be hired across the district.
“We have the desire to open an alternative school at Zimmerly in an effort to give students a better chance to become successful while improving the educational environment at all schools. This would be for both the high school and middle school and additional funding would enable staffing of this initiative.
“And several items and needs that we just can’t seem to catch up with.
“From my perspective, as the Board President, it is our obligation to make the proper decisions that allow you as teachers and staff to become successful in all of your roles. When presented with the opportunity to increase funding to the district, by simply adding six days to the calendar, this became a very exciting opportunity!
“The Board was very concerned about going against the calendars that won the majority of the staff and community votes. But, we also felt that if teachers, staff, and community were aware that we turned down $1.378 million dollars over six days, that our judgment would be seriously questioned.
“As Board President, I am very excited that we were able to navigate through this new system that PED has built and find a way to place our district in a better financial position.
“The Board acted fast and used our resources to put this plan together before the opportunity was lost. And now our students will benefit greatly!”