Meetings watch: Portales board of education

During the Portales Municipal Schools Board of Education meeting Monday in the district Administration Building, the board:

• heard Portales Junior High School Principal Steve Harris say math and reading scores on Measures of Academic Progress (MAPS) tests had increased slightly over the past school year.

• heard Portales High School Principal Melvin Nusser say ninth- and 10th-grade math MAPS scores increased over the last year, but 11th-grade math scores dropped a bit and he didn’t know why.

The tests are used within the district to gauge student progress. PHS seniors don’t take the tests.

Reading and language usage scores showed a decline in all three grades, he said. Nusser said that reading tests being administered in one long sitting might be part of the reason for the decline in that area.

• approved the final budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Superintendent Randy Fowler said it was basically unchanged from the tentative budget the board approved in May, but the state Public Education Department could still make alterations. The budget has $900,000 more this year than last year, which is about even with year before last, he said.

• approved New Mexico High School Competency Exam waivers for two PHS students.

• approved changes to board policy, including language to allow the Board of Education Scholarship to go to a student planning to attend an out-of-state college.

• approved alternative governance plans for Brown Early Childhood Center, Valencia Elementary School and Portales High School. The plans are strategies to improve student performance required as part of corrective action for not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress standards.

• approved applications for Title I federal funding of reading and migrant student programs.

• approved an audit contract with Woodard Roy and Associates CPA of Portales and Clovis.

• approved a bid of $33,300 for low bidder Ramirez and Sons of Hobbs to repair winter damage to bus lanes at PJHS. Fowler said the district would use money that had been earmarked for the Valencia bus loop. Other projects are happening at Valencia, Fowler said, so administrators decided to take care of the PJHS bus lanes first.

— Compiled by PNT senior writer Argen Duncan