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SFPS studying impact of closing schools and other cost saving measures

No Recommendations Have Been Made at This Time

By The Santa Fe Public Schools | April 17, 2017

Santa Fe, NM –Santa Fe Public Schools is currently studying various cost-saving options including school closures in the midst of the State budget shortfall. No recommendations, including closing schools, have been made to the Board of Education at this time.

Board of Education President Lorraine Price explained, “The Board of Education asked staff to study the impact closing two schools, along with other cost saving strategies, would have on the district. Staff will report their findings to the Board on April 24th at our Study Session. However, no recommendations or decisions have been made at this time. In the end, due to the decreases to funding for public education, we have been put in a precarious position because regardless of the cost-saving measures we choose to utilize in order to balance the budget, it is going to impact students and staff.”

The district, in partnership with the NEA-Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Federation of School Employees, conducted a survey of faculty and staff in March regarding potential cost savings the district should consider while building its budget for the upcoming school year. The top four cost savings measures included consolidating alternative high school programs, reduction of the athletics budget, rollback of principal contracts in transitional schools, and consolidation of schools.

Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, superintendent of schools added, “We will present a menu of options to the Board to consider while building our budget along with the pros and cons of each option. Staff and community are continued to be encouraged to attend the upcoming meetings regarding the financial state of the district.”

To find more information regarding the district budget building process, including answers to FAQs as well as a list of upcoming meetings, go to www.sfps.info.

Message From the Superintendent Regarding Possible School Closings

First and foremost, it is important that you know how deeply saddened and concerned I am about the emotional impact the discussion of school closure has on you. I sincerely empathize; however as Superintendent of Schools I am called upon to make tough and fiscally responsible decisions that impact our entire district.

In the case of E.J. Martinez and Nava- your schools have found themselves at the intersection of financial constraints coupled with aging facilities.

Our 2017 Facilities Master Plan indicated that needed renovation to comply with standards for elementary schools would exceed 60% of costs for a new building estimated at $24 million per school. Neither school has the necessary in-zone student enrollment to justify a new building. The recommendations to close both schools would have come within the next three years.

The decisions to accelerate the recommendation to study closure was expedited because of the budget crisis. A staff survey recommended school closure over furloughs, increased class size or reduction in staff. Secondly, another cost-saving strategy is to consolidate three of our alternative high school programs. Those programs are being recommended to be housed at Nava. It is important to note that school closures are only one of several potential cost-saving strategies required to balance the budget.

Please find answers to FAQs here. I hope you find these helpful. I know the answers provided will not ease your pain or anger. Please know that we must look at providing a sound educational program within our budgetary constraints for all students in the Santa Fe Public Schools.

Next week we will have parent and family meetings at EJ Martinez Elementary and Nava Elementary. A list of upcoming meetings is included in the FAQs here.

Veronica C. García, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools

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