Portales could see extra grant money


January 15, 2020

PORTALES — Of all the New Mexico school districts receiving money from Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grants, Portales Municipal Schools is the only district in 100% compliance with the grant requirements.

The benefit may be a bonus of more than 100%, Superintendent Johnnie Cain reported at Monday night’s school board meeting.

The SRCL formula grants — normally referred to as the “circle” grants — provide Portales with $450,000 annually to spend on literacy initiatives.

The grant is going away after this year, and grant officials are asking some of the most compliant districts if they have any use for still unencumbered dollars. Portales is eligible for up to $580,000, Cain said, but the money must be spent by June.

“That’s a lot of money to spend in six months,” Cain said, “but I bet you we can find something.”

Sarah Stubbs, the district’s director of finance, said the district is applying for a similar grant for upcoming years to offset the departure of SRCL.

In other business at the Monday meeting:

• The board swore in re-elected board members Rod Savage, Inez Rodriguez and Randy Rankin.

• The board was reorganized with Allen Garrett as board president, Rankin vice president and Savage as secretary. Rodriguez said it was a pleasure to serve as president for the last two years, but that the board works so well together because everybody gets an opportunity at the various roles.

• Cain’s contract was extended an additional year to June 30, 2023, with the current salary at $131,000. The board evaluated Cain in an executive session at the December meeting.

“I missed the executive session, but we’re fortunate to have him,” Savage said, while noting Cain’s knowledge of state requirements and the way he defends the district’s teachers in the evaluation processes. “We’d be remiss if we didn’t extend the contract another year.”

• The Portales High Student Council gave a report, with President Madisyn Courtney noting a Jan. 23 blood drive at the school and plans to attend a state student council conference later this semester.

n A group of students were recognized for all-state band and/or choir. Kelli Morrison, PHS band director, said students trying out for all-state band begin working in May for a late-year audition. Students submit recordings, which are then given to judges with no names attached. Students who audition for all-state choir are given a piece they’ve never seen before and must perform on the spot for judges.

• The board approved a PHS senior honors banquet for April 22.

• Cain told board members the district would soon seek to acquire the final $2 million available from the 2017 bond cycle, and would seek a renewal of the bonds for 2021.

• With the legislative session about to begin, Cain reminded board members, “If you haven’t looked at the prefiled bills, you need to and start making some calls.”

• The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 10.


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