ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — The Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) district is calling for ‘right-sizing.’ They want to change some boundaries and get rid of an elementary school to deal with declining enrollment.
In their efforts to ‘right size’ schools, the APS board voted to add grades six through eight to some elementary schools. “If we have small schools, this is what you’re facing,” said Josefina Dominguez, board member of the Board of Education.
APS’ Board of Education looked at changing the boundaries for three different elementary schools Wednesday. Board members voted unanimously to move all La Luz Elementary School students to MacArthur Elementary School this August.
“We sent out communications to the families after last week’s meeting. We met with the staff the day after, so that Tuesday, and to be very honest, I don’t think that people are very shocked or surprised,” explained Amanda DeBell, associate superintendent of APS.
APS said La Luz currently has 131 students, and MacArthur has 184. Board members asked during the meeting, “How small is too small for a school when making these decisions?”
“There’s always the sense of loss from a community whose, you know, this is their neighborhood school, and that doesn’t fall on deaf ears for us. It was a difficult decision,” said Yoland Montoya-Cordova, president of the Board of Education.
Next on the agenda was expanding Corrales Elementary School to include middle school grades six through eight, housing around 500 students. Under this plan, kids who would have gone to Taylor Middle School would stay at Corrales.
“This is a logical thing. The community wants it. I still think, as a district, we still need to be cognizant that this alters what schools look like,” stated Barbara Petersen, a member of the Board of Education.
Board members also voted on expanding Janet Kahn Elementary School—making it K-8th grade and allowing students from all across the city to attend.
“The students that currently go to Janet Kahn would have priority for the next few years to be able to stay in that school. Students who do not want to go to Janet Kahn would be redistricted in the new boundary areas,” said Dr. Gabriella Duran Blakely, chief operating officer of APS.
Those new boundary areas include Bellehaven Elementary School and Apache Elementary School.
The board voted to approve each of these changes unanimously. APS said a lot of their students leave the district for middle school and then come back for high school. They believe these measures will help recruit and retain some of those students.
Come August, La Luz Elementary School will be rented to the Albuquerque Sign Language Academy charter school for two years.