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Kathy Sandoval, Principal of AIMS, sets record straight
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RRPS Should Take Lessons From Its Own Anti-Bullying Campaign
05/01/2014 Article by Renee Wilkins
A line has been drawn in the sand, and Rio Rancho Public Schools does not want AIMS charter school to cross it. It seems RRPS needs lessons from its own anti-bullying campaign. They’ve been on the attack since hearing the nationally-awarded AIMS charter school was preparing to add a second campus in Rio Rancho. RRPS Superintendent Sue Cleveland and others hinted that the Governing Body might deny UNM West further funding from the higher education GRT for future buildings if they lease space to AIMS, prompting Councilors Wilkins and Scott to put forward a resolution to clarify the Governing Body’s position on this matter. The resolution approved by the Governing Body stated that the City would welcome AIMS and would not withhold future funding from UNM West under the higher education sales tax due to AIMS leasing in the current building.
Unfortunately, RRPS has persisted in its attacks. School Board president Carl Harper stated in the Journal (April 26) that “AIMS will be paying a sweetheart low rent to UNM”. However, the amount is set by the State of New Mexico, and is yet to be determined. AIMS and UNM have indicated the lease is temporary, and UNM West’s lack of enrollment involves many factors that will not change overnight.
The City is currently paying UNM West $1.5 million/year toward its 60% commitment for the original cost of construction of the building. That money will cease flowing to UNM in December 2014 when this obligation is fulfilled. From a business stand-point, it makes sense that UNM is going to have to make up for that supplement in some way, while still dealing with low enrollment at their campus. UNM owns 220 acres at the City Center, and we will be watching them closely to make sure the full-service campus is realized. In the meantime, bringing a second AIMS campus to UNM West acts as an incubator for future students, who will hopefully populate that campus in future years.
The irony of this situation is that last year many of the people whose mantra was “don’t give up on our kids” during the higher education GRT election, now seem more concerned about maintaining a monopoly on Rio Rancho educational opportunities and funding. This school will provide a high-quality alternative for Rio Rancho families. One size does not fit all.
One of the Rio Rancho Tea Party’s core values is supporting free markets. We believe competition will make everyone strive to be better. RRPS should stop flexing its muscle and extend its hand to welcome AIMS to Rio Rancho. If the school does not do well, then RRPS has nothing to worry about.