Officials OK program for PHS

By Karl Terry: PNT managing editor

Portales Municipal Schools Board members gave the OK to a new program at Portales High School aimed at increasing student participation and feedback on campus issues.

Portales senior Katana Ellis explained the program, Raising Student Voice and Participation, to the board on behalf of student council.

She said at the core of the program is a series of one-hour summits led by students.

“We have students who do not participate in any activity we do,” Ellis said. “This program will hopefully address that. This just brings a variety of people into the mix.”

She said getting students who might sit by on the sidelines and not get involved or express an opinion involved is the greatest thing the program could potentially do for PHS.

“I think it would help people who feel they are alone to get started participating,” Ellis said.

The program is being funded by a $1,000 grant from the National Association of Student Councils and the National Association of
Secondary Principals. Students in Bill Strong’s civics class applied for the grant last year.

The board approved the grant unanimously along with other routine budget adjustment requests.

The board also heard a report from Superintendent Randy Fowler on the school bond election that would provide $9.5 million that would be used in part to match $11.8 million in state funds to replace Lindsey and Steiner elementary schools with a single new school.

Early voting is under way, and according to Fowler, approximately 90 people had returned ballots. Early voting ends Friday. Election day is Tuesday.

Fowler reported a community committee was working for passage of the measure.

“Things are going as planned and we have a lot of support in the community,” Fowler said.

In other business the board:

• Heard a report from Director of Instruction Priscilla Hernandez on rankings associated with the recent Adequate Yearly Progress reports. She said plans are already in place to meet state requirements associated with each school’s status under AYP. Three schools, Portales High School, Lindsey and Valencia have apparently met AYP for this year. Those results become final on Sept. 17.

• Approved a cooperative agreement with New Mexico Department of Transportation to make improvements to school parking lots.

• Approved the sale of surplus vehicles by sealed bids.