Created: 02/27/2014 6:28 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The fast-shrinking Moriarty-Edgewood school district wants to close two schools – but the state department of public education says no.
In New Mexico when you have fewer students you get less money from the state to run your schools. In Moriarty-Edgewood that’s about 2,000 students since the year 2000, a decrease of more than 40 percent. State funding has dropped by about $5 million since 2008. The local school board recently voted to close Mountain View Elementary, west of Moriarty, and Edgewood Elementary a few miles away. Both schools are largely empty, but the Public Education Department says they must not close.
“I can tell you that there’s a sense of frustration on the part of the majority of our board members, and I think even among staff,” said school superintendent Tom Sullivan. “ We had been expecting approval.”
The Public Education Department says the school district has made a budgetary case, but it has not shown how the closings would educationally benefit the students.
“We’re going to work with them to say how do we keep the schools running, because there is no other alternative to service students in that school,” Gov. Susana martinez said. “ The parents have called us, actually. We’ve had lots of calls back at the office saying thank you for not closing the schools.”
Sullivan said the school board is thinking about re-submitting the request to close the schools – if they can get a better understanding of why the state authorities are so opposed to the plan.