The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Steve Hansen
The Staff of The News 

Portales school board talks redistricting options


Last updated 5/10/2022 at 4:55pm

Steve Hansen

Portales School Board President Rod Savage presents Amberlynn Mauldin with a New Mexico School Boards Association Student Achievement Award.

PORTALES - The Portales School Board on Monday discussed redistricting after hearing two options from Brad Morrison of Research and Polling, the redistricting consultant the district hired to adjust the districts.

The redistricting was made necessary by shifts in the population of Portales Municipal Schools' service area, which showed that some minor changes were needed to bring the school district into compliance, Morrison said.

Of Portales Schools' five voting districts, population shifts left one, District 4, with a population more than 5% greater than the average among the five, and one, District 2, with a population more than 5% less than the average of the five.

Superintendent Johnnie Cain said he favored an option Morrison presented that would move a few blocks from District 4 into District 2, from Chicago Avenue to South Boulder Avenue, between Commercial Avenue and Third Street, but leave the other three districts alone.

In the second option Morrison presented, there would be changes in all districts to make the shapes of the districts a little less irregular.

The board is planning to take a final vote on redistricting at its June 13 meeting.

At Monday's meeting, the board also decided to add a requirement for a semester class called "Success in the Workplace" for graduation from high school. Cain said the requirement could be waived for students who participate in programs like Future Farmers of America that include career readiness in their curriculum.

The class would include "soft skills," like dressing for work, professional communications, resumes and job interviewing, along with tracking work hours and pay.

The board also authorized Cain to negotiate with the city of Portales for joint operation and administration of children's athletic programs citywide. Cain said it would mean some extra work for school employees, "but it would be worth it" to expand recreational opportunities for young people in the city.

In other action Monday, the board:

• Approved salary schedules for superintendent, directors and principals, and for transportation that provide 7% raises, in line with legislation passed by the New Mexico Legislature in its 2022 session.

• Approved application for more than $348,000 in grants to fund fine arts education for elementary school students. Henry Montano, assistant superintendent of instruction and assessment, said the money is always granted, but the schools must apply for it, anyway.

• Approved an auditor contract with Woodard, Cowan and Co., noting that 2022-2023 is the last school year for which the district can use Woodard Cowan.

• Approved application for grant funding of professional development programs and alternative school instruction and for migrant education programs for 2022-2023.

• Board President Rod Savage presented Amberlynn Mauldin, an instructional coach, with a New Mexico School Board Association Student Achievement Award.

• Sarah Hunton, the district's reading coach gave special recognition to teachers who have earned literacy coaching and reading recovery credentials and have used them to bring students' reading and language skills up to state standards.


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