ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Tens of thousands of kids are rushing back into school classrooms across the state this month, with Albuquerque and Rio Rancho ringing in the new school year last Thursday. The new school year also comes with a long list of changes being felt statewide.

Some of those changes include free meals for all regardless of income, new bell schedules, and an extended school year calendar, and more time in the classroom. In Albuquerque, some of the changes include high schools and middle schools starting and ending their days later, while elementary school kids are starting and ending earlier.

This week on the New Mexico News Podcast, Chris McKee and Gabrielle Burkhart sit down with APS Superintendent Scott Elder to break down some of the key changes and how the state’s biggest district is handling them. What is the biggest change for APS this year, according to Elder? How does the free meal program work? Why are bus drivers crucial to classroom start times? 

In the second half of the episode, hear from a local parent and school bus driver Julie Sprunk about her experience and perspective on the upcoming school year. 

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Download new episodes of the New Mexico News Podcast every Tuesday, starting around 5:30 a.m., Mountain time. Episodes are available on most podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcherand Podbean among others.

Having trouble finding the show? Try searching your favorite podcast player with the term “KRQE” or “New Mexico News Podcast” (without the quotes). You can also use the links above to find the podcast on each respective service or listen to the audio player at the top of this post.

If you have a question, comment, or suggestion as to who should be interviewed on the podcast, let us know! Email the hosts at or