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School district receives extra resources for maintenance, programs

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Implements resources for student career skills

Gallup-McKinley County Schools Superintendent Mike Hyatt spoke about several recent developments during an Oct. 16 board meeting.

Hyatt said Tohatchi was awarded $75,000 for a feasibility study to replace the high school. The next step, he said, is to examine factors that could come into play when the building is replaced.

Hyatt said the district was given other resources for renovations and new furniture for several other schools. He cited Crownpoint, Thoreau and Navajo Pine as potential beneficiaries.

Hyatt also said a recent lawsuit, in which families and schools sued the state for not providing students with a sufficient education as mandated by the state’s constitution, turned out in favor of the district — the ruling would be the start of finding a solution to fix education funding throughout the state, albeit not until sometime in 2019.

The lawsuit challenged the state’s inadequate funding of public schools as well as its failure to provide students with the necessary resources to be college, career and civic ready. The state would have until April 15, 2019 to ensure New Mexico schools have the necessary resources to provide sufficient education to be ready for further opportunities.

“The judge has ruled in our favor but has required the legislature to satisfy the deficiencies,” Hyatt said in an Oct. 17 written statement. “We will likely see some changes in funding after the 2019 legislative session.”

During the meeting, Hyatt listed the educational areas the judge said were insufficiently funded by the state. These included the number of pre-K programs, cultural relevance and social services programs, teacher and staff pay, and professional development sessions.

Hyatt also discussed the aftermath of the National Career Pathways Conference, held in Louisville, Ky. on Oct. 11 and 12.

He said the conference helped the district begin to use materials in schools that support careers students are interested in.

Hyatt said high-school students should receive concrete career skills, and the board would change the way they do things to cater to this need.

“We need to do a better job of getting students ready [for a career],” Hyatt said.

By Cody Begaye
Sun Correspondent