Los Lunas Schools calendar approved by board

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The Los Lunas School District 2013-14 student calendar was approved after the board tabled it at the previous meeting because the 60-day legislative session was still in process.

When the session closed, school officials learned the New Mexico Public Education Department pushed the Standard Based Assessment testing window back a week, said Superintendent Bernard Saiz.

The district had put all the calendars up on its website for comments, suggestions and preferences.

Calendar C, the one ultimately chosen by the board, had a 52 percent preference; B an 11 percent preference; and A had a 37 percent preference.

All three had the same back-to-school dates, Aug. 14 for grades 1-12, Aug. 16 for kindergarten and pre-K on Aug. 19, but spring break was scheduled for April 14-18 on calendar A, March 3-7 on calendar B and March 10-14 on calendar C.

Calendar A has the same spring break as Albuquerque and Belen with SBA testing prior to the break.

"With this one, it is very evident a very small percentage of the population wants the April break," said Assistant Superintendent Ron Williams.

It's also a long time to wait for a break from academics, he said.

Calendars B and C have testing after the break, and there was some controversy over that. People in the Albuquerque school district were saying it was a bad idea, said Williams.

"I don't know that I agree or disagree with that," he said. "Because the reports I got back (from Los Lunas principals) is the kids really worked hard up until March 8, because they were going to have a week off, came back that Monday re-energized.

"We got started with testing, and the results I got back was that it was a very, very strong testing window for us."

Williams said testing could be pushed back a day on the C calendar.

Calendar C is not aligned with Albuquerque or Belen schools, and the University of New Mexico has not made a decision yet about when it will schedule spring break.

"But I think this is our best bet," Williams said.

The district tries to align the student calendar with other schools and the university, because some students' parents work at UNM or siblings go to other schools, but that's not always possible, Saiz said.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a capital improvement budget adjustment request for $844,000 of the district's two mill levy money for the state capital outlay matching funds requirement.

• Approved travel to Jostens Renaissance conference on July 10-13 in Scottsdale, Ariz., for 27 school staff members to chaperone about 75 to 90 students who plan to attend workshops and programs at the event.

Saiz said about 60 high school students and 30 middle school students are anticipated to attend the conference.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.