Mountainair BOE addresses the end of the fiscal year

Mountainair BOE addresses the end of the fiscal year
A teacher at his desk, image by Todd Brogowski/Midjourney.

The June 27, 2023, meeting of the Mountainair Board of Education began with Mountainair Public Schools business manager Peter Nieto working to close out several financial matters before the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1, 2023. Specifically, Nieto addressed payroll, expenditures, multiple budget adjustment requests related to operational funds, funds associated with professional development and supplies related to Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-B), and professional development under the teacher/principal training and recruiting fund. Nieto explained that he would seek funding from the town council for a public municipal gym connected to one of the schools. Nieto said that the gym's cost would be "very nominal" rather than what would be expected at a commercial gym.

Maria Jaramillo of the Central Regional Education Cooperative (CREC) gave a presentation to familiarize the board members with the services offered to Mountainair. CREC is one of ten regional educational cooperatives operated by the New Mexico Public Education Department. Jaramillo started her presentation by explaining that CREC offers funding and programs for the following educational institutions:

  • Estancia Municipal Schools;
  • Mountainair Public Schools;
  • Magdalena Municipal Schools;
  • Quemado Independent Schools;
  • Vaughn Municipal Schools;
  • Jemez Valley Public Schools;
  • Laguna Pueblo Department of Education;
  • UNMH-Children Psychiatric Center (part of the University of New Mexico Healthcare system);
  • New Mexico Corrections Department;
  • New Mexico Department of Health - Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center; and,
  • New Mexico Children, Youth, & Families Division - Juvenile Justice Services.

Jaramillo's presentation laid out some of the services offered by CREC, namely:

  • Supplemental diagnostic evaluations, such as for determining whether a student has a learning disability, English-language proficiency, and early childhood assessments
  • Student Teacher Accountability Reporting System (STARS)
  • Common core state standards support
  • Special education technical assistance
  • ProfessiLearningrning for educators
  • Child Find Coordination
  • Transition/Early and Post-Secondary Support
  • Early Childhood Instructional Coaches
  • Student Assistance Team/Multi-Level Systems of Support (this program provides tutoring services that can be incorporated into an Individualized Education Plan, AKA an IEP)
  • Crisis Prevention Intervention Training
  • Event Management Services
  • broadband programs
  • Grant application services
  • PowerSchool special programs (PowerSchool manages in the cloud information for school administrators regarding students)
  • Edgenuity (online courses)/Beyond Textbooks
  • District strategic planning
  • support for district instructional audits
  • Data-driven decision-making and analysis
  • NM DASH 90-day plan support (NM DASH assists school districts in improving targeted components of education across an entire student body rather than as part of an IEP; for example, Mountainair has two NM DASH programs in its elementary school for English/language arts and mathematics)
  • Medicaid School-Based Services and Billing (because disabilities are both an educational and an insurance/healthcare concern, Medicaid can be used to fund specific in-school programs)
  • Title I (N&D) program administration (also called The Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk)
  • IDEA B program administration (the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act creates grant opportunities for schools that create special education programs for children)
  • State-directed Activity Funds/Program Administration for special education services and support
  • Commission for the Blind Vocational Transition Services for 14-year-old (or older) children with IEPs

Why include the details of all the programs offered by CREC?

While the programs offered by CREC, whether speech pathology, individualized tutoring, or in-school assessments, are laid out on their website, it is crucial for parents of children who currently have or may need an IEP to have the available programs fresh in mind because recommendations concerning components of IEPs change over time.

Following Jaramillo's presentation regarding CREC, the board unanimously approved an updated set of special education policies and procedures. It also approved a payment of $218,000 to the Green and Gonzalez Bus Companies for the academic year 2023-2024, an increase in fees paid to each provider. Business Administrator Nieto confirmed that this increase in cost came without a change in routes. The board unanimously approved a $1,450 annual student accident/blanket insurance payment. The board of education also approved using leftover funds from the school system's K-12 accounts for employee stipends and school supplies.

As required by the Torrance County Clerk, Nieto read a statement indicating that there will be an upcoming statewide election on November 7, 2023. Mountainair will have four positions up for reelection (three for regular reelection and one for reelection due to a board member being appointed). The board approved a motion ratifying Nieto's statement and providing the clerk with notice of the Board of Education members' reelection campaigns.

The Board of Education reviewed and approved an updated main MPS staff handbook and multiple site-specific supplemental handbooks. Finally, the board closed its meeting with approval of the local implementation of the National School Lunch Program.

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