First day of school for many NM students, including at APS

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Students across New Mexico, including at Albuquerque Public Schools, are heading out for their first day of the school year Wednesday.

The first students made it out the door around 7:25 a.m. and start getting out the door around 2-4 p.m.

Compared to last year, enrollment is down, at least for APS. More people are choosing to homeschool their students, enroll them in a charter school or simply move them out of state.

Albuquerque has about 59 charter schools, which differ from public magnet schools and operate independently from school districts like APS. School leaders say, however, they won’t know for sure just how many students they have for this year on the first day.

“At the moment we have about 73,000 students,” said Monica Armenta, the executive director of communications for APS. “The thing to remember is that those numbers are still fluid, people are still registering and, just like staff, we don’t know if people will move. We’ll see where they are.”

District officials say they either expect enrollment numbers to say the same or increase slightly, compared to what they saw last year. When they get those numbers, certain decisions will be made.

“We are funded based on the number of students we serve so we’ve had so many meetings where we’ve talked about rightsizing the district,” Armenta said. “One of the things we have to do, when we do have numbers disclosed, is making sure that we have the appropriate stuff, that we have the right programs, but there’s no mistaking, if there are fewer students, that ultimately means fewer programs, less staff.”

If you are driving when students are out, be sure to slow down to 15 mph in school zones and watch for flashing lights or a crossing guard indicating you should slow down. Not adhering to these things could warrant a hefty fine.

Drivers should watch for students and be cognizant at all times, especially as kids are always unpredictable. Always stop for school buses when the ‘Stop’ sign is extended and lights are flashing. It is illegal to pass a bus in these conditions.