Raton School Board wraps it up

by Carol Bridge
RATON — The Raton Public School Board met in a brief, end-of-year wrap up on Monday evening.  Before the regular meeting began, a last look at the budget for next school year was reviewed with Lita Sanchez, financial officer, giving an overview and explanation.
There were a few changes possible in the future depending on more information from the state  and included the mandated raises to school employees, both certified and classified.  All teachers will be receiving the 2.5% increase with classified staff receiving 2%, including bus drivers.  Sanchez reminded the board that salary  and benefits make up almost 80% of the total yearly budget and that this has been very challenging.  The schools end the year with the required carryover, leaving enough money for emergencies.  Superintendent Andy Ortiz complained that while the state mandated pay raises, it left the school having to juggle the actual funding.  He thanked Ms Sanchez for her timely and hard work preparing the budget.
Halle Medina addressed the board for the last time as student representative and gave a update on sports and graduation activities.  She said it is her wish that the school take more advantage of social networking in order to inform parents and the community about events and notices.
Chris Segura addressed the board with his plea that prayer be re-instituted in the schools.  He wants all students to open the school day with mandatory prayer.  After some discussion, Ortiz promised him that he would look into this.
Principal Duncan Ware updated the board regarding this year’s testing.  Board member Ted Kemp asked when the results would be made known and Ware replied that results should be known sometime in August.
Lou Martinez, Special Education Director, gave a report of funding for her program.  She said SPED funding was down 20%.  Kim Sanchez, Principal of Longfellow Elementary School, informed the board that a Parent Teacher Organization was being formed and that it would support the schools and students.  Please see more about the school’s efforts to help students at
www.ratonschools.com/longfellowelementaryschool.html
Jo Alms, Science and Robotics sponsor and Linda Ortiz, FCCLA sponsor were both acknowledged with a plaque reflecting their successful programs.  They received commendation and ‘Excellence in Student Achievement’ awards.  Congratulations on the huge success and honor that you have brought to RPS both at the state and in the region.  Several retirements were announced among the staff.
The next meeting will be June 11th at 6 pm at the Raton High School library.