Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Ron Warnick
QCS Senior Writer 

Mountain View School may be given to state

 

March 23, 2022

Ron Warnick

The former Mountain View Elementary School in Tucumcari, now used by Eastern Plains Early Head Start, may be donated or sold for a nominal sum to the state by the school district.

The superintendent of Tucumcari Public Schools said he was considering donating or selling for a nominal sum the Mountain View Elementary School property to the State of New Mexico on which a day-care center operates there.

Superintendent Aaron McKinney said during the school board's March 14 meeting that Eastern Plains Early Head Start rents the former school building on South Rock Island Street for $1 a year. He said it costs the district thousands of dollars a year for upkeep on the structure. He said donating or selling it would mean a cost savings, and the state is interested in acquiring the property.

McKinney said he believed the district donating the building to the state would not violate the anti-donation clause because it would be a transaction from one governmental entity to another. If there were a legal problem, he said the district could sell the building and its 13 acres for $1.

Board member Jerry Lopez agreed in principle of giving the building to the day-care center, calling it "an asset to the community."

But he wondered whether the land and water rights could be separated from the transaction to be developed or sold.

Board President Heather Gonzales also advocated giving away the building and keeping the land.

McKinney said he would ask the day-care center how much land it needs for a children's play area, then draw up a resolution by the board's next meeting in April.

Mountain View Elementary School opened in the early 1950s and closed about 40 years later.

In other business:

• The board approved a first reading to revised amendments to the public comment policy at meetings. Lopez requested the change because constituents told him it was too restrictive.

The board in November 2019 changed its policy for public participation in board meetings. Those who wish to comment before the board must complete a Request to Address Board form and give it to the superintendent before the meeting. The board president may set a time limit of three minutes per speaker or 30 minutes for a presentation.

A draft of the new policy states, in part, "an individual desiring to address the Board shall provided a request to be receives by the Superintendent on the Thursday prior to the Monday Board meeting stating the subject of their request (a form is available at the office)."

Time limits for speakers or presentations did not change.

The policy also states policies "for disposition of complaints" must continue to be followed before anyone addresses the board. That means complainants first must consult with their child's teacher, then the principal, then administrators in an attempt to address the problem. Personal attacks on board members, personnel and meeting attendees still are discouraged.

Lopez and Gonzales suggested posting disposition-of-complaints policies in the student handbook, including the online version. McKinney said he would direct that action.

• During a work session for the 2023 budget, McKinney and board members discussed mandated pay increases for staff members enacted by the New Mexico Legislature during its 30-day session.

McKinney noted most educators would receive a 3% raise in the final quarter of this school year, then a 3% base-pay hike in the fall, plus a 4% pay increase on top of that. He said in some cases, teachers could receive pay raises as high as 17%.

McKinney said health insurance premiums were capped at 6% increases.

• McKinney said costs of shipping new climate-control units to the elementary school this summer probably will rise because of steeper fuel costs. He voiced confidence the installation would be finished by fall.

• The board approved a resolution opposing New Mexico Bank & Trust's planned closing of its Logan branch in June.

• In routine matters, the board approved an annual resolution about health insurance for part-time employees in the 2022-2023 school year and gave permission to the business manager to make budget adjustments as needed through the current fiscal year.

 
 

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