New Mexico school leaders meet to discuss 4-day weeks
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico School Board Association met to talk about instructional hours Friday afternoon.
The special meeting was called after the New Mexico Public Education Department proposed changes to instructional time requirements.
Right now, 39 school districts in the state are on a four-day school week schedule – many of them rural.
“For us, a four-day week has made a lot of sense, our community embraced it and has supported it, and it’s worked well for us,” said Lee White, Loving Municipal Schools superintendent. “We have a lot of benefits. It helps us retain and recruit staff.”
The association says Friday’s meeting was to talk about how to respond to NMPED in a unified way.
In January, the state Legislature passed House Bill 130, which requires 1,140 hours of instruction per school year. The PED wants to move to 180 days of instruction.
As the law stands now, the only requirement is for hours, with the option of four- or five-day weeks.
“Both sides were presented, and I think, you know, there was a lot of discussion and a decision was made,” said Sue Cleveland, Rio Rancho Public Schools superintendent. “So I think it’s kind of hard right now to go back and start changing that at this point.”
Cleveland says her district is on a five-day week, but she understands the needs of other communities.
White said the Friday meeting was a way to ensure smaller districts are not lost in the shuffle.
“We, as a unique state, and as diverse as we are, I want to ensure that we have voices heard from all areas,” White said.
The NMPED ruling is scheduled for Dec. 18.