State mandate throws wrench into some students' graduation plans

Updated: 12/14/2013 10:37 PM | Created: 12/14/2013 10:36 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A state mandate is throwing kinks in some students' plans to graduate, halfway through the school year.

Rio Rancho Public School students learned this week that marching band and ROTC will no longer count for their physical education requirement.

A few years ago the Public Education Department got rid of a provision letting students make that swap. Now, they're enforcing it.

That means some seniors may have to make changes to next semester's schedule.

Sophomore Breanna Watkins planned to earn her PE credit through band at Cleveland High School where she stretches and runs at every practice.

"We figured out earlier that band is over 200 hours of physical activity over the course of 3 months when a year of PE is about 180 hours," Watkins said.

But newly enforced requirements will force Watkins to take PE anyway.

For her senior friends in band already locked into schedules for next semester, it is going to mean making some changes or facing consequences.

"A lot of people will not be able to graduate on time because their schedules won't allow for them to take PE," Watkins said.

Rio Rancho's superintendent wanted the state to waive the change for seniors, but the state asked them to hold on while the Public Education Department discusses it further.

The superintendent said that was fine but pointed out that many parents have voiced complaints.

Rio Rancho Public schools says their hope is that the public education department delays the rule until the Class of 2015.

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