With the Legislative Session in full swing and legislators making funding and program decisions for the 2024-2025 school year, we keep our feet anchored in the present with our eyes on the future. We are now moving into the critical time of the school year when families and educators are considering their options for the coming summer break and the next school year. It sure would be nice to have calendar drafts for the community and APS employees to weigh.
Union members have voiced their concerns about the calendar. Particularly, educators have been adamant on the importance of having more full weeks of school in the coming year with fewer weeks comprised of 2- and 3- instructional days. This has caused a great disruption in teaching and learning. We have communicated these sentiments to the district. APS is waiting on the New Mexico Public Education Department (NM PED) to make a decision or a move.
The PED continues to float the notion of changing state law through executive rule. We’re talking about the 1,140 hours of instructional time codified in House Bill 130 during the 2023 Legislative Session. In the fall of 2023, the department released a proposal stating their intention to require all schools to construct a calendar with a minimum of 180 instructional days, none of which could be used for parent-teacher conferences or professional development for educators.
Some legislators have argued that this proposal would be an overreach of executive power, hence an illegal move.
The PED’s plan takes many calendar decisions out of the hands of communities and directly contradicts the intent of HB 130—adult learning time is an important component in fostering student success. Additionally, many rural schools hold classes four days per week because of the difficulties of providing transportation in sprawling geographical areas. These are the type of obstacles districts around the state would need to negotiate were the PED’s proposal set in motion. For the time being, it’s all conjecture, and we are all left in limbo.
What’s the PED’s plan for the coming school year?
WE’RE STILL WAITING!