RRPS approves boundary changes for elementary schools

New Mexico News

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – After months of getting public input and coming up with different options, Rio Rancho Public Schools finally has new boundaries for its elementary schools.

It’s getting some mixed reactions from parents.

“Just kind of sad, you know? Like, we don’t want to change schools, so, not very happy or excited,” said Jessica Hill.

Her daughter is just one of the about 200 hundred kids who will have to move schools for the 2020-2021 school year as part of the changes.

“She’s not happy because she’s like are my friends going to be there,” Hill said.

She said she’s sad to leave MLK since her family loves it so much but she understands why the changes are happening.

The district is in the process of building its $24 million Joe Harris Elementary School. The boundary changes will help fill up the incoming school while reducing the number of kids at Martin Luther King Junior elementary and Maggie Cordova elementary.

“When a school is overcapacity, it really affects some of the facilities like cafeterias, gymnasiums, libraries, shared facilities. You have a lot of students trying to use those facilities,” said Kim Vesely, Special Projects Officer at RRPS. “We are aware that this is a change to families and change can be tough.”

She said the district will plan special welcomes and an opening ceremony at Joe Harris Elementary to help the new students adjust.

The board also adopted a provision that would allow fourth-grade students to stay at their current schools.

“The students that are going into fifth grade, they’ve been there since kindergarten, they’re really established, they’ve got all their friends, they just have one more year left before they are going to be moving to middle school,” Vesely said.

Online, some parents are excited to see each elementary school will be under 800 students and are hopeful traffic will improve at Martin Luther King Junior Elementary.

Hill said while she’s ‘heartbroken’ to leave the school her family loves but is using it as her own teaching moment for her daughter.

“We’re trying to keep the positive and think of this as a new adventure,” she said.

Joe Harris Elementary School will open in August with the 2020-2021 calendar year. It will have just under 400 kids to allow for more students to come as the area becomes more developed.

Other than fourth-graders, most students at MLK will not be allowed to request to stay since construction is happening at the building next year.

“And we’re going to need to be able to move students around in that facility as we do construction in different parts of the building,” Vesely said.

The district is now working on re-routing buses to match the boundary changes.

To view the current and new boundary maps, click here.

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