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District Relations Committee Meeting

Monday, December 14, 2009, 6:00 PM

Meeting Information and Documents:

  • Meeting Location:
    Albuquerque Public Schools John Milne Community Board Room, 6400 Uptown Blvd NE
  • Meeting Notice: Posted on January 15, 2010 at 6:55 PM
  • Agenda Packet:
  • Minutes
  • Calendar import: vCal iCal

Additional Details

I. Call to Order
II. Adoption of the December 14, 2009 Agenda and the Approval of the December 7, 2009 Minutes (Discussion/Action)
Draft Minutes 12 07 09 with Edits.docx
III. District Relations Chair Lorenzo Garcia Welcome/Introductions
IV. Superintendent Winston Brooks Welcome/Introductions
V. Capital Review of Keeping the Commitment
A. Bond Election Video
B. Yes for Our Children's Future
C. Community Capital Advisory Commission
VI. Educational Reforms in APS
Superintendent Winston Brooks
VII. Discussion/Questions
VIII. The next District Relations meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 4, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. in the Delayo Martin Community Room.
IX. Adjournment

Minutes of District Relations Committee Meeting
The Board of Education
Albuquerque Public Schools
A District Relations Committee meeting of the Board of Education of Albuquerque Public Schools and legislators was held December 14, 2009, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Albuquerque Public Schools John Milne Community Board Room, 6400 Uptown Blvd NE.
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m.
II. Adoption of Agenda and the Approval of Minutes
Lorenzo Garcia asked for a motion for approval of the December 14, 2009, District Relations agenda and the December 7, 2009, District Relations minutes. Ms. Griego motioned for approval of the agenda presented at this meeting, Mr. Robbins seconded the motion, and the motion carried.
III. District Relations Chair Lorenzo Garcia Welcome/Introductions
Mr. Garcia introduced himself and went over the discussion topics. Mr. Garcia introduced the members of the board and Superintendent Winston Brooks. Martin Esquivel, Lorenzo Garcia, Robert Lucero, Dr. David Peercy, David Robbins and Dolores Griego attended the meeting. Paula Maes was absent.
IV. Superintendent Winston Brooks Welcome/Introductions
Mr. Brooks went around the room for introductions. Other attendees were City Council members, city and county staff, County Commission members, Albuquerque business leaders, and APS staff including Karen Alarid, Monica Armenta, Tami Coleman, Michael Brasher, Phill Casaus, Rigo Chavez, Peg Koshmider, Dale Dekker, Tony Duran, Joseph Escobedo, Ruby Ethridge, Jim Folkman, Dr. Diego Gallegos, Miguel Garcia, Rey Garduno, Michael Gaylor, Diane Kerschen, Larry Langley, Dan Lewis, Sherman McCorkle, Carrie Menapace, Aimee Milazzo, Karen Montoya, Bob Murphy, Dr. Francine Olmstead, Raquel Reedy, Charla Reinhart, Dr. Tom Ryan, Ken Sanchez, Liz Shipley, Ralph Sigala, Linda Sink, Eddie Soto, Andi Trybus, Betty Valdez, Eilene Vaughn-Pickrell, Sara Westbrook, Kizito Wijenje, Dr. Brad Winter, Brenda Yager, and Craig Yoshimoto.
V. Capital Review of Keeping the Commitment
A. Bond Election Video
Mr. Brooks said he is encouraged by the strong support of the community toward the bond election for capital improvements, due in part to the strong accountability now in place. Mr. Brooks stated that APS is hosting several meetings like this to share/discuss what is going on in the school district.
Mr. Wijenje stated that the focus for the February 2 bond election will be on rebuilding older schools and building six new charter schools. A master plan is in place to ensure resources go where most needed. The cost will be $617 million with $135 million going into technology. School-related construction represents 63 percent of building in the commercial industry in Albuquerque. Mr. Wijenje introduced Mr. Folkman of the Albuquerque Homebuilder’s Association.
Mr. Folkman expressed confidence in how prior funds have been utilized—buildings have been well-built, well-designed, and green. Mr. Folkman emphasized the critical
importance of this bond issue to enhancing education in general and to the economic well-being of the community.
B. Yes for Our Children’s Future –
Ms. Alarid introduced “Yes for Our Children’s Future” which is a business group of 25 people who support APS’ bond elections and provide accountability. Two members of the committee were in attendance: Dale Decker and Jim Folkman.
The program builds community relations with advocacy groups to work for a strong APS school system.
Ms. Alarid, in conclusion, said the election will be on February 2, 2010, with early voting at City Centre, at the northwest and southwest sites, and at the County Clerk’s office downtown.
C. Community Capital Advisory Commission
Mr. Wijenje introduced Betty Valdez, a member of Community Capital Advisory Commission (CCAC). Ms. Valdez stated that the commission is made up of 11 dedicated members who work to ensure public transparency and monitor the spending and impact of capital funds. The commission tracks projects and makes suggestions.
Mr. Folkman added that APS has been very open and receptive to their suggestions, saying that savings have been realized due to the design of the new buildings and value engineering—without compromising integrity or standards.
Dr. Winter added that $20 to $28 million per month has been put into the economy. Mr. Lucero emphasized that the bond election impacts the economy for the community, as well as for students.
Mr. Brooks was very complementary of the work of the CCAC and the Board of Education, stating they work well with each other and with APS administration.
VI. Educational Reforms in APS
Mr. Brooks stated that APS has embarked on a number of education reforms to ensure target goals are met, such as providing mentors for students and after-school programs. APS has met 10 out of 14 academic proficiency goals developed for this last academic year. APS projects a 75 percent graduation rate in three years; the current graduation rate is at 63.2 percent. Early indicators show there are three times more students taking the ACT tests at West Mesa High School.
APS has implemented a program called Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) to address the students who are often not realizing their full potential academically and support them in accessing resources for higher education opportunities. The program has been successful nationwide with 400,000 currently participating; a majority are Hispanic/Latino. The goal is to convince, raise expectations, and get kids thinking about going to college, which means a more rigorous curriculum. The cost for AVID is about $250,000 per school.
APS has expanded extended days school time with existing resources to all high schools, making it available in the local neighborhoods so parents and students have a choice. It is designed to offer students, who would drop out, another alternative. Currently, more than 700 students are enrolled. APS also is working to create more magnet schools.
A new magnet school called Nex+Gen will be opening in the fall of next year, allowing 400 students, beginning with freshman and sophomores, to have a one-on-one computing environment; they hope to expand a grade level each year. Ms. Aimee Milazzo of Nex+Gen is available to answer any questions.
APS wants to provide options for families in addition to charter schools. APS is also looking at the possibility of purchasing a building at Central and Broadway to open a fine arts school for K-8 that will integrate with an existing charter school (PAPA) to create a public
school/charter school partnership. Creating an environmental magnet school along the Bosque is another possibility.
A. Nex+Gen Video
Nex+Gen is a new high-tech academy focused on a project-based learning environment. The business community and private sector were able to bring it to Albuquerque, largely due to Sandia National Labs’ and Intel’s contributions. A stand-alone school is being built on the Del Norte High School campus to open in August 2010 with Dr. Michael Stanton as principal.
VII. Discussion/Questions
Mr. Brooks introduced the legislative agenda enclosed in the packet, stating that the upcoming session will be very difficult. APS will be very involved and present during the session in Santa Fe.
Mr. Brooks introduced Phill Casaus.
Mr. Casaus, executive director of the APS Education Foundation, stated that the goal of the foundation is to raise money for and build positive awareness about APS. Mr. Casaus hopes to raise $1 million through the Horizon Campaign by May, and current trends are encouraging for meeting this goal. Mr. Casaus stated that the foundation already has raised about $350,000. Mr. Casaus said that the support of the community has made a huge difference for fine arts, classroom teacher mini-grants, activities, and literacy programs. Mr. Casaus welcomes questions and ideas. Mr. Brooks has been encouraged by the early success in the campaign.
Ed Lujan, Council Member for District 6, was introduced and stated that he has an abiding respect for public education—to ensure that nothing diminishes it. Mr. Lujan gives his full support.
Mr. Brooks opened the floor to questions, stating that a comment card was provided in the packets for feedback if preferred.
Ms. Reinhart asked what happens when there is more demand than space in a school and how APS will satisfy the needs of those who can’t go where they want to go. Mr. Brooks stated that programs such as Nex+Gen and AVID take resources; Sandia National Labs has said if Nex+Gen is successful, they will look at replicating their support. If APS can recapture those students who have left to private or parochial schools it will help to foster revenue.
Rep. Miguel Garcia supports revenue enhancement and stated that a core of progressive legislators have whittled away at the amount being considered for cuts. Rep. Garcia suggested there could be that type of help if the education committee would look at reform in personal income tax for those making over $100,000 and capital gains of more than $200,000, and multi-state corporations that are able to escape paying corporate tax in New Mexico by sheltering it in other states. Rep. Garcia explained that funds appropriated for schools by the legislature were frozen because they were not finalized by the date they needed to be. Important projects that would enhance education overall and for the schools fell into that black hole. Rep. Garcia also expressed his concern as a former teacher about preserving the district’s only 90/10 Spanish-emersion model at Longfellow. Rep. Garcia suggested that someone in the district distribute absentee ballots during the first week of the legislative session and get applications signed; perhaps have the government liaison bring absentee ballots to the session and make them available to legislators. Rep. Garcia was concerned that the board has not made a decision regarding revenue enhancements.
Ms. Griego suggested meeting again at another time to discuss these particular issues.
Mr. Brooks stated that APS will look at revenue and begin to identify progressive enhancements. Mr. Brooks is confident that leadership will coordinate the 90/10 and 50/50 programs so that everyone is on the same page and student retention is increased.
Mr. Lucero stressed the importance of education being a priority in New Mexico and that APS has been working hard to provide facts and information to legislators to stay on track for the capital money. Mr. Lucero further stated that APS will require financial help to do what is necessary for education and to keep New Mexico state guidelines.
City Councilor Ken Sanchez stated that facts will need to be presented with regard to a possible west-side split, but the tax base is there; it will be a formidable debate for the future. APS has taken great strides for schools to be built on the west-side. Councilor Sanchez introduced new City Councilor Dan Lewis. Councilor Lewis stated that he is looking forward to serving, supporting, and helping this district to be all it can be.
Mr. Dale Decker advised that bond issues of the past have failed due to bad timing and lack of a spending or master plan and that it is important to be sensitive to issues. Mr. Decker is also concerned that APS was portrayed negatively regarding the west-side split in a recent news article and that public relations work needs to be done.
Mr. Lucero suggested that discussions concerning the west-side split be deferred to another time; that the bond election be the primary focus, as it is critical to the community and the economy.
Mr. Garcia stated it is vital that the city, county, and state work together to rebuild community and find common ground; to look at hard data and move forward.
Mr. McCorkle advised caution with regard to singling out specific groups of people for tax increases; experience has shown that quality jobs and high earners will leave New Mexico.
Dr. Peercy would like to see a 90 percent positive bond vote to provide confidence that the right thing is being accomplished. Dr. Peercy states that the proposed school targets will bring APS close to a 75 percent graduation rate real quick—it’s a challenge with a good path to get there.
Mr. Robbins stated that in order for economics in the private sector to increase revenue, there has to be an improved product (to industries, students) and revenue generation; the last resort is to raise prices. Eighty-five percent of APS expenditures are for salaries and benefits that can’t be cut without cutting teachers. APS leadership is focused on meeting the needs of the community, measuring progress, and communicating that progress accurately and truthfully. Mr. Robbins also advises caution with regard to increasing taxes as it can backfire, which will be damaging to APS and students.
VIII. Next District Relations Meeting
Lorenzo Garcia announced that the next District Relations meeting would be held January 4, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. in the DeLayo Martin Community Room.
IX. Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

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