ALAMOGORDO The Legislative Education Study Committee kicked off their three day meeting in Alamogordo with presentations from the superintendents of local schools Wednesday.New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Superintendent Linda Lyle started off the discussion of strategic initiatives with a welcome to the committee.”My role was to introduce them to the school and to welcome them since we’re hosting them for three days,” Lyle said. “I also told them about our work and how it reaches into the school districts throughout the state.”She saidNMSBVI, such as the other school districts, facethe challenges of funding.”We’re seeking increased funding to support new initiatives and to sustain the ones we already have,” Lyle said. “I talked to them about assessment issues around students who are blind.wholesale jerseys As the field has gone to internet based testing, you look at a student who doesn’t have vision and who is coming to us because they don’t have good technology skills or possibly good reading skills.”The example Lyle gave is a 10th grade student who is being tested on 10th grade material butis ata 5th grade reading level.”You can’t even figure out what they know using the testing system that exists now,” she said. “I talked about that and our work to help find and make tests more accessible and working with publishers to make that happen.”One initiative that NMSBVI is proud of is their Prison Braille Project.”We’re going to Lee County and teaching inmates braille,” Lyle said. “They’ll become certified transcriptionists and they’ll provide braille free of charge in the state to kids.”Buy Photo (Photo: Tara Melton/Daily News)Alamogordo Public Schools Superintendent Adrianne Salas and Cloudcroft Municipal Schools Superintendent Travis Dempsey also took the floor on Wednesday. Salas and Dempseytalkedto legislators about the challenges each district is facing and highlighting good things their students are doing.Salas highlighted the opening of Desert Star Elementary and enrollment stabilizing last year and the current school year.”With all these good things, we also have challenges,” she said. In the last week, we have probably lost 10 teachers.”Dempsey highlighted Cloudcroft’s high ACT andPARCC scores as well asthe Class of 2015, which earned over $1 million in scholarships.Sen. Howie Morales, D Catron, Grant and Socorro, posed the question to Salas and Dempsey whata 3 to 5 percent funding cut would mean to their districts.”For a small district, a 3 to 5 percent cutreally would come down to cutting positions,” Dempsey said. “We began two years ago to save any place we could and so our current operational budget goes to salary, which is a large chunk and somewhere around 70 to 80 percent. That’s not going to withstand a 5 percent cut, it’s going to cut positions at that point.”Salas agreed, saying APS has cut down over the past couple yearsto the point there is no fluff.”We cut really big into our administration,” Salas said. “Right noweverybody’s doing three or four jobs, as I’m sure everybody is doing across the state. For us, it would mean going back to our staff and making those cuts.”
School district sells parcel to make way for McKenzie interchange
The Galloping Goose trail will be moved closer to the the Marigold and Spectrum schools as part of the McKenzie interchange project, and parents are expressing concerns about safety, traffic noise and the loss of green space.
The Goose is being moved to make room for merge lanes for traffic coming from McKenzie Avenue and heading westbound on the Trans Canada Highway, said David Loveridge, facilities manager for the Greater Victoria School District.
“Most of the tree border that is there now will be cleared out because they’re moving the Goose closer to the schools,” Loveridge said. “Almost the entire tree boundary on the south end of the schools will be gone.”
Loveridge said he did not think the Garry oaks on the property would be affected, but Marigold parent Sheryl Roodenburg said she fears that “hundreds of years of growth of the Garry oak meadows” is about to be lost.
“It’s not going to look nice at all,” said Roodenburg, who is president of the Marigold Parent Advisory Committee.
The project means the “terrible” loss of green space that provides shade, education and a place for creative play. “It is also the main barrier to keep the over 300 kids at Marigold School safe during school hours,” she said.
The kids stop at the natural barrier, but she fears the planned chain link fence will be seen as a challenge to try climbing. “The safety of the children needs to be more of a priority,” she said.
Roodenburg said the Transportation Ministry has promised to provide $150,000 for fencing, landscaping, and replanting on school property, but that is “nowhere near enough” to replace what it is removing.
In a statement to the Times Colonist on Wednesday, the ministry said that it is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of the highway improvement. “Staff are working with local biologists with expert knowledge of Garry oak arbutus ecosystem to determine the potential impacts to the ecological values at this site,” the statement said.
Once this has been determined, these experts will help the ministry to prepare a mitigation plan to offset the impacts according to provincial policy.
Marigold parent Katherine Brandt says the highway lanes will be 40 metres from Marigold school,http://www.cheapnfljerseysonlinew.top 10 metres closer than they are today, and that the edge of the on ramp will be just 30 metres from the school.
“That is a lot closer,” she said in a letter to school trustees.
The province says that the locations of highway lanes and ramps are still approximate as the project team continues to work on the detailed design of the interchange.
“However, it is the intent of the ministry to minimize the impact by placing the highway as far from the school as design allows, and providing separation from the highway.
“In addition to a natural buffer zone, Marigold school will be separated from the highway by the Galloping Goose trail approximately 20 metres away, and a sound wall adjacent to the highway to reduce noise levels and to protect cyclists and pedestrians near the schools from the vehicle traffic on the highway.”
Loveridge said the sound abatement wall is expected to be about three metres high, and made of concrete with the appearance of stone and brick.
Roodenburg said she is concerned that the wall will not deal with the din from two years of construction noise.
She said she is also concerned that the new, wider Goose will put kids “at higher risk” because it will accommodate high volume lanes of various users, including bus interchange passengers and cyclists who rarely use the small bridge over the Trans Canada.
School children will have to walk considerably further to use the new bridge, Brandt added. They now walk 150 metres from a drop off at Esson Road by Portage Road.
“To reach the same point using the new pedestrian bridge will be 450 metres. This is no longer going to be a safe, direct route to school for young children. The proposed location will take children far out of the way and they will then have to walk on their own along the Goose, for a fair distance,” she said.
The province said improvements to the Goose mean students will no longer need to walk along the shoulder of the highway or cross the highway at the traffic signal.