District set to take legal action over four-day schedule

By John Earp

At the March meeting of the Jal School Board this past Monday, District Superintendent Brian Snider gave an update on the four-day school week situation. “We had a call from the Secretary of Education telling us in 9 minutes that we’re going to a five-day school district and they don’t even know how it’s going to work.” He continued, “So, I went into a Zoom [meeting] yesterday which consisted of the Secretary of Education saying we’re going to have to go to a five-day unless we have 80% proficiency. There’s no other schools in the state, none, not one, that has 80% proficiency in reading scores. So the problem with the 80% proficiency is no one knows what it’s based off of.” Snider said the district would need to develop a four-day and a five-day calendar, not knowing until the middle of June whether they could stay on a four-day plan or not. He said, “The middle of June basically gives you three or four weeks to implement an entire calendar. Even for us, it’s a really hard pill to swallow.” Board President Jim Gooss asked about the state legislature, with Snider replying that the legislature is completely against making four-day districts go to a five-day schedule. Board Secretary Jaime Earp asked if the governor could veto it. Snider said Governor Lujan-Grisham already line-item vetoed the issue. Snider said that this really “ticked them off,” and that there are already calls for a special session. Snider said that because the governor vetoed the measure, the rule kicked in from the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED), adding, that on the next month’s agenda for the Jal School Board would be an item to join in legal action. Snider said the legal action would cost the district about $1000, but it’s “the best money we’ve ever spent.” According to Snider, state law says school boards have the authority to make the school calendar and schedule, but this rule does away with that and gives that authority to the NMPED, but requiring districts to have their schedules approved through the NMPED in order to receive state funding. Snider said that since the executive/governor is vetoing the will of the legislature, the judiciary branch has to come in. He said, “If we file an injunction and they choose to go that route, then it will have to freeze until it winds its way through the court.” Snider said the New Mexico Superintendents’ Association is spearheading the effort. “So far, there’s 30-something districts that have joined.” He added that the bigger school districts are saying, “If we don’t draw the line in the sand on this, what are they going to do next?”

Subscribe To OurBreaking News and Online Newspaper

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!