LAS CRUCES – During Tuesday’s Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Karen Trujillo and the board discussed potential plans for high school graduation, staff vaccinations and priorities for this year’s budget.
Trujillo said the district has reserved the Field of Dreams for May 21 and 22 in hopes that health orders will permit in-person graduation ceremonies for the six high schools in the district.
She said this is the district’s first choice, but students should also prepare for a drive-thru graduation similar to 2020 in case the pandemic does not allow a traditional ceremony.
“We’re really hoping for the best,” Trujillo said. “We just wanted everybody to know that if they are making plans that they can plan for the regularly scheduled days of graduation.”
COVID-19 vaccinations administered
According to Trujillo, by the end of the week, 800 LCPS staff members will have received the COVID-19 vaccine. She said this includes all levels of educators from special education teachers in contact with students to administrators to custodial staff.
“It’s important to note that this includes every level of our educators,” Trujillo said. “In order for schools to open safely, we do need to have everybody ready to go.”
The vaccine is voluntary.
Trujillo said she also worked with MountainView Medical Center and Memorial Medical Center to coordinate vaccine opportunities for Gadsden Independent School District, Hatch Valley Public Schools and the local charter schools.
This week, staff members from all the charter schools and GISD will be receiving the vaccine, while next week HVPS and the rest of the staff from LCPS will be receiving theirs.
Trujillo said just she and HVPS Superintendent Michael Chavez got their vaccination Tuesday morning.
“I made sure to include our neighboring school districts as well as all of our public charter schools, because in order for Doña Ana County to return to servicing our students, it really does need to be every single institution (that has this opportunity),” Trujillo said.
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The school board later discussed some of the priorities for the 2021 budget including:
- Emphasize the importance of air conditioning on new buses as they are purchased
- Provide opportunities for additional student learning days
- Expand tutoring opportunities for students
- Explore creating a savings structure from renewable energy projects to impact student success
- Expand renewable energy projects, including solar power, electric and clean energy opportunities.
- Expand online learning capacity, including increased cybersecurity infrastructure and increase professional development opportunities for online instruction
- Increase the number of counselors and mental health support staff, especially at the middle and high school levels
- Expand International Welcome Centers to all middle schools
- Continued support of the Community Schools initiative
- Dedicate funding to ensure continued success of Student Advisory Council
- Review and expand support of culturally and linguistically responsive educational opportunities, including curriculum development for ethnic studies
- Review the stipend for bilingual educators
Chief Financial Officer Ed Ellison presented the priorities to the board, which the board — after tweaking several of the bullets — voted to support.
Newly appointed board President Ray Jaramillo reminded the public what these priorities mean for the budget.
“These priorities are not necessarily things that are going to happen,” Jaramillo said. “This is what the administration takes back to start working on the budget. This is… the board’s vision in what we’d like to see.”
After a night with a few technical difficulties, the board adjourned.