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News from 2022-2023

Posted: March 28, 2023

APS Committee Recommends School Boundary Changes, Leasing La Luz to Charter School

Proposal part of larger effort to right-size district

La Luz Elementary School

La Luz Elementary School

An APS committee is asking the Board of Education for permission to move quickly on three aspects of its right-sizing plan, and the proposal now includes leasing La Luz Elementary to a charter school.

The committee will also be asking the board to approve several boundary changes so that it can reconfigure Corrales Elementary into a small K-8 school and turn Janet Kahn into a pure K-8 magnet school for the upcoming school year.

District officials have held public meetings on the Corrales Elementary and Janet Kahn proposals to get input from community members in the areas that would be affected. Officials also plan to meet with affected community members on the La Luz proposal.

The proposed lease and boundary changes are part of a larger APS effort to right-size the district due to significant enrollment drops over the last 10 years. The district last year cut hundreds of vacant positions in order to better align staffing with enrollment figures. This year it undertook an evaluation of its facilities with an eye on how some schools could be repurposed to retain and recruit more students.

“When we approached this right-sizing, we really approached it in a how can we expand our options, how can we recruit and retain students, what have we learned that’s going on in the community,” said Dr. Gabriella Blakey, the chief operations officer at APS. “Middle school is a big thing, and you’ll see that in some of these plans.”

Many APS students leave the district for their middle school years and then return for high school. Several of the proposals being considered are aimed at giving students more options for middle school, such as K-8 magnet schools. 

The three proposals the committee is asking board members for quick action on are:

  • Changing attendance boundaries so that the 130 or so students now attending La Luz Elementary would instead be assigned to MacArthur Elementary. PreK classes currently housed at La Luz and MacArthur would move to Duranes Elementary. The La Luz campus would then be leased to the Albuquerque Sign Language Academy for two years. The dual-language American Sign Language/English charter school is building a new campus and needs temporary space.
  • Turning Corrales Elementary into a small K-8 school of about 500 students. Taxpayers have already approved funding for the school rebuild and improvement. APS plans to use those funds for the first phase, which would involve adding a sixth-grade class in the fall. Under the proposal, the school’s students would eventually remain there through eighth grade rather than feeding to Taylor Middle School as they do now. District officials say the proposal is aimed, in part, at retaining more students, noting that 60% of outgoing Corrales Elementary students currently transfer out of APS for middle school. The high school feeder pattern would remain the same with eighth graders advancing to Cibola High School.
  • Removing the attendance boundary from Janet Kahn School of Integrated Arts Magnet Elementary and turning it into a pure magnet choice K-8 school. As part of the proposal, Janet Kahn would also add a sixth-grade class in the fall. Super stops would be put in place to accommodate students who would need to be bused in from other parts of town, although students in the current Janet Kahn Elementary attendance area would be given priority to attend the reconfigured Janet Kahn school. Students in the Singing Arrow neighborhood who don’t want to attend Janet Kahn would be assigned to Apache Elementary. The remaining Janet Kahn student attendance area would be assigned to Bellehaven Elementary. Under the proposal, Apache Elementary students would advance to Kennedy and Grant middle schools, while Bellehaven Elementary students would feed to Grant Middle School. Bellehaven Elementary and Janet Kahn K-8 students would later advance to Sandia High, while Apache Elementary students would go to Manzano High.

Other changes being discussed but not up for immediate action include:

  • Changing some North Valley attendance boundaries in order to move Taft Middle School students to Taylor Middle School and convert Garfield Middle into a STEM pure Magnet school. The changes wouldn’t go into effect until the Taylor Middle School Phase I construction project is completed. Under the proposal, Taft would then be used to expand Coronado Elementary, which currently has more than 250 students on a waiting list. The Taft campus would serve fourth- through eighth-grade Coronado students. The Coronado Elementary expansion would happen in fall 2025.
  • Boundary changes to balance out enrollment in the northwest part of the district. The changes would affect Sierra Vista Elementary, Tierra Antigua Elementary, and Sunset View Elementary.
  • Boundary changes to balance out enrollment in the southwest part of the district. Schools affected would be Navajo Elementary, Rudolfo Anaya Elementary, Adobe Acres Elementary, Barcelona Elementary, and George I Sanchez K-8.