CLOVIS (KSMX)- Based on funding uncertainty, jeopardy to established priorities and a commitment to lessening the strain on students and staff, Clovis Municipal Schools has declined to add 10 additional days to the 2020 – 2021 Instructional Calendar.
The Special Meeting, held virtually Wednesday, July 1, was convened to consider a revised 2020 – 2021 Instructional Calendar in response to the New Mexico Public Education Department’s (NMPED) Reentry Guidance, issued on June 23. Strongly suggested by the NMPED, the revised calendar presented to the Board included 10 extended learning days, five at the beginning and five at the end of the previously approved academic calendar.
During the meeting, District Superintendent Renee Russ and members of her leadership team advised Board members against adopting the revised calendar, one of few reopening decisions the state has allowed local school districts to make.
The recommendation was based on numerous concerns identified in the time since the NMPED made the proposal:
- Under the current state budget, a lack of funding allocation could cause the District to absorb the expense of 10 additional days – at a minimum cost of $1.7 million – which would inevitably deplete critical cash reserves.
- Adding days to the school year increases the challenges students and staff already face in the midst of an already uncertain and difficult environment.
- Prior to the COVID-19 closure, the District community and staff had already expressed their wishes regarding extending learning, with expected student participation around 20 percent, and almost 80 percent not interested in participating.
- Previously established District priorities would be jeopardized by the unanticipated and unfunded cost.
- Honor four percent pay raises for staff that was recently eliminated from the state budget.
- Continue strengthening online learning frameworks and working to ensure technology devices and Internet access are available for students.
In the event a District elects not to add 10 days to its academic year, the NMPED requires a written plan of how it will address learning loss and regression due to COVID-19 closures.
“We have the talent and commitment across our staff to do right by our students,” Superintendent Russ assured the Board.