Serving the High Plains

State grant will help TPS write facilities master plan

The Tucumcari Public Schools board last week accepted a state grant of up to $34,303.96 to help the district form a five-year facilities master plan.

The district’s share of the plan would be $28,066.88, with the total cost to not exceed $62,370.84, according to a letter from the New Mexico Public School Capital Outlay Council.

During the board’s March 13 meeting, superintendent Aaron McKinney said having a five-year plan in place is required for the district to receive capital-outlay money and other funds.

McKinney also said the plan also helps the district with future bond issuances.

In other business:

— High school principal Nicole Bright-Lesly said this year’s graduation ceremony would be in Rattler Gymnasium at 10 a.m. May 19. The last three graduations had been outdoors, including the last two at Rattler Stadium.

— Bright-Lesly said the seniors were excited to recently learn they would help the Tucumcari Rotary Club replace solar-powered lights on the big “T” on Tucumcari Mountain during the last week of school.

Annually refurbishing the big “T” was a longstanding tradition with THS seniors until a few years ago, when the mesa’s owners restricted its access.

— During board member comments, Jerry Lopez noted the financially distressed Mesalands Community College likely would cut back on dual enrollment classes except for schools in the immediate area, such as Tucumcari.

Lopez said he hoped TPS officials offer support to Mesalands. He said the college benefits students and the community.

McKinney said he recently spoke to Mesalands interim president Allen Moss about the state of Mesalands.

“I feel pretty good about it,” McKinney said. “I’m not fearful about the college shutting down at all.”

— During his superintendent’s report, McKinney said roof leaks were discovered in the elementary school after a recent rain — likely due to workers replacing climate-control units at the school.

McKinney said the contractor previously replaced a unit at the high-school cafeteria with no problems, and he expressed confidence it would make roof repairs and replace ceiling tiles at the elementary school. He said the school’s roof was replaced in 2014 and still is under warranty.

— In a routine matter, board members approved an annual resolution of the district providing health insurance to part-time employees who work between 15 and 20 hours per week.

— During board comments, board President Heather Gonzales said the school’s award-winning STEM team recently received a $10,000 donation.