Posted: September 19, 2013

Letter on Jefferson Loop Construction from Board President, Superintendent, Principal

Construction has began at Jefferson Middle School on a loop road for student pick up and drop off.

September 19, 2013

Dear Jefferson Community,

If you drive by the school today you will notice construction has begun on the Jefferson East Area Improvements Project, also referred to as the “Jefferson Loop Road” for student pick up and drop off.

We thought it important to explain why Albuquerque Public Schools is moving forward. It’s really very simple – student safety. For years now we have had concerns about student safety given the congested traffic on and near campus. We took those safety concerns to voters when we asked for a bond approval that included improvements to public infrastructure on Lomas Boulevard between Loma Vista and Girard Boulevard for access to Jefferson Middle School. Voters agreed the project is important enough to fund.

You are well aware now that a small group of neighbors have challenged this project. APS has met with concerned neighbors and the school community on numerous occasions to explain that without these improvements our students, staff and visitors to the school are in danger. We have made changes to the design of the Loop Road as a result of these meetings and in consultation with the City of Albuquerque. We’ve also conducted a traffic study. This is a health and safety issue. Period.

It’s not unusual in a public dispute for the loudest voices to generate the most attention.  What hasn’t been reported as widely is the fact that more than 400 parents have signed a petition in support of the Jefferson Loop.

We’re in an unusual situation. When you consider we have 142 schools, it’s worth noting that rarely do we find ourselves at this place.  We compromise when we can, but when student safety is at the heart of an issue we simply can’t. The APS Board of Education and administration is responsible for the safety and well-being of our students and we take that responsibility seriously.

Thank you.

Marty Esquivel, President, APS Board of Education

Winston Brooks, APS Superintendent

Pam Meyers, Principal, Jefferson Middle School