Officials: District will need more faculty, staff with student increase

Liliana Castillo

Clovis Municipal Schools officials say the district will need more teachers and support staff for a near 1,000-student increase projected by 2013.

If voters on Aug. 31 approve a proposed third middle school, most of the new staff will be located at that new school, officials said.

Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Cindy Martin said because sixth graders would be moved to the middle school, most teachers will follow the students. Still, the district will need to hire 30 to 33 staff members to deal with the increase in students.

District officials said the increase in students – spurred by expansion at Cannon Air Force Base — will provide money to staff and operate the proposed new school.

Because of the way public schools are funded in New Mexico, the more students a district serves, the more funding it receives from the state. With the district receiving more students, it will receive more state money.

Called the state equalization guarantee (SEG), it’s a formula that calculates a base amount of money needed per student multiplied by a weighted factor providing for students who require more resources, such as elementary or special education students.

The district has used what school officials believe is a conservative number of 825 students to calculate the SEG for 2013, the year the proposed middle school would open for business, and how much it will provide to the district.

With that number, the district is expected to receive an increase of more than $5 million from the state.

To staff a 900-student middle school, including administration and support staff, physical plant expenses, maintenance and water for play fields, the district has calculated it will cost almost $4 million annually.

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley, who calculated the costs to run and staff a third middle school, said he allowed for 41 teachers. He said even if the district doesn’t build a new school, students are coming and will need classrooms and teachers.

Shirley said if the 41 teachers needed classroom space elsewhere in the district, each classroom would cost $93,000. That means it would cost the district almost $4 million to house 825 students and 41 teachers in portable buildings that have a life cycle of 20 years.

The proposed new building would have a life cycle of 75 years, Shirley said.

The costs to build the proposed new middle school, including permits and design, is $29 million. With the Public Schools Facility Authority’s participation of 80 percent, the district will pay nearly $6 million to build the school.

The district’s $6 million share for the middle school is part of what the district is asking voters to approve with the Aug. 31 bond election.

The $16 million total bond issue would also fund renovations and additions at five elementary schools and Marshall Middle School.

The district has yet to choose a location for the proposed third middle school.

Site possibilities have been narrowed from eight to two by the school board, which plans to choose from the two sites Tuesday.

The sites are:

• A site for purchase of up to 47 acres at the southwest corner of Llano Estacado and Thornton streets owned by the Burns and Sprouls families.

• Donation of 40 acres at the northwest corner of Wilhite and Thornton streets owned by Clovis developer Sid Strebeck.

Shaun Burns, a Clovis lawyer and part owner of the Burns site, said the family plans to develop the land along Llano commercially.

He said plans for land to the south include residential development.

“When we develop that is dictated by the growth of Clovis,” he said. “Now is the time to develop.”

Burns said if the district chooses to purchase the property, it would resolve the entire tract for the family at once, instead of having to sell it in pieces.

The site has ready access to water, sewer and power, he said.

Neither the district nor Burns would release the cost to purchase the land.

Strebeck said he plans to develop a master-planned community on 630 acres northwest of the site he’s proposed that includes the school in its design.

“We think the school should be an integral part of the neighborhood,” he said.

The community would include large and small single family homes, townhouses and retail space, Strebeck said.

Strebeck said he plans to begin development immediately with the entire community taking 10 years to be completed. Strebeck has also offered to pay up to $200,000 for development of sewer and water to the site.

Superintendent Terry Myers said acquisition of land, whether donation or purchase, will be handled through contracts that will ensure both parties uphold their end of the deal.

Fast Facts

What: Clovis Municipal Schools board of education meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: CMS administration board room