School redistricting questions addressed

The parent turnout at the Clovis Municipal Schools second redistricting meeting Thursday was fewer than 10, but those present felt their questions on redistricting options were addressed well.

If option A, B, C or D is approved at the CMS Aug. 28 board meeting, many children in Clovis will be moved from Marshall and Yucca middle schools to the new W.D. Gattis Middle School when it opens in August 2013.

The redistricting options were based on keeping elementary school classmates together and balancing ethnicity. Option C was favored by those present since it proposes the least amount of splitting schools.

George Chappell, president of Southwest Cheese Company, believed the biggest concern of the parents was to ensure that the education system in Clovis improves.

"By striving for some of the goals that the district put out," said Chappell, "I hope we're not hindering the education of some or not providing opportunities for others."

He also pointed out some of the other concerns of parents were the options' economic feasibility and changes in transportation.

"There was obviously a lot of thought put into those by the board," Chappell said.

Cory Adair, manager of Adair Transportation, said he had little concerns about any of the options.

"I do periodically hear about problems when we start splitting schools and sending students to other places," Adair said.

"Option C is probably the best if we're talking about not splitting kids. As far as transportation goes, we'll make it all work."

Adair believes the school board will make a redistricting decision that is in the best interest of the children and the community.

Carlee Bunker, a stay-at-home mother, inquired about the downsides of each of the options and asked why the proposals mix and split the student bodies of each school as they do.

"I think they (school board) definitely answered positives and negatives to all of my questions," Bunker said.

Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Terry Myers said the turnout of the meeting was much smaller than he hoped, but those present posed questions that were likely representative of a larger group.

"They were a group that was very interested in what we were talking about and they came prepared to ask the hard questions," Myers said.

Myers said the most important question he heard focused on the district's ability to ensure that all children's needs are met if the district were adjusted according to demographics.

"When we talked about our instructional plan for doing that and strategies we have for taking care of both the low performing and high performing students," Myers said, "I think that set their minds at ease."

Myers said he is unsure what option the school board will vote on Aug. 28 and said the board has not met to specifically discuss any preferred options. He said he believes the community will lean toward option C and that he will make a recommendation the board vote on option C.

The Clovis Municipal Schools board of education discussed the following at its special board meeting Thursday at Clovis Community College:

  • District academic performance

District-wide: Yucca and Zia went from a D to a B in the new state grading system.

Expectations for future: The size of elementary classes should be maintained at 25 children or less per class.

  • Personnel: The district is starting the school year with 1,100 employees and continues to grow.

As the district grows more bilingual teachers and staff are needed.

There are 951.3 employees receiving operational salaries and benefits.

  • Construction update: Bella Vista is on schedule, Lockwood is undergoing foundation work, Bickley is in the design phase, Marshall is almost complete, Gattis Middle School is 38 percent complete, Clovis High School roofing and HVAC will be complete in September.
  • Fund balance: The operational fund for the district is about $60 million.
  • Projections: The district expects that Cannon will have 300 people move in this year with just under 25 percent with children.
  • Superintendent goals: The district will leave no child behind. District is willing to do whatever it takes to get students through school. Board will work to balance ethnicity in schools.

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