Teacher Shines Attention On School Supplies Shortage

by Staff Reporter / May 29, 2017 / comments
Espanola School’s Business Manager Maria Fidalgo listens as John Sena, English teacher at Espanola Valley High School, address the Espanola Valley Public School Board. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Teacher Shines Attention On School Supplies Shortage

By George Morse

In addition to the controversy as to where the funds for the football and track project will come from (See previous article HERE), the Espanola Public Schools Board heard from concerned teachers and staff over school supply shortages at their Board meeting on May 25 at Carlos Vigil Middle School.

‘It’s really hard to expect kids to learn in a challenging academic environment when there’s no tissue, no paper towels, and no soap to wash your hands,” high school teacher John Sena told the Board.

John Sena, EVHS English teacher addressing the Espanola School Board. Photo by George Morse with the Valley Daily Post

Responding to Sena’s comment, Board member Herrera recalled an event at San Juan Elementary where there were no trash bags.

“Parents were using white kitchen bags to pick up trash,” Herrera said. “I checked and there were 741 cans of Ajax-no sponges, no trash bags.”

Herrera said he spent $29 to purchase trash bags.

School Board members listen on during Thursday's meeting. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post.

Cordova explained that an order for trash bags had not been placed. The needs of each school need to be decided by the site supervisor (principal).

Sena lamented that the District is losing students and urges Board members to visit the schools.

“Come talk to the kids,” Sena said. “You need to go there and talk to them.”

Board member Serrano said he had done just that.

“I did go to the school and talk to the kids,” he said.

James H. Rodriguez Elementary School Principal Veronica Dean also brought up the need to be able to obtain school supplies.

“I have 413 students and 50 staff members,” Dean Said. “During the day, they are going to use the bathroom. It’s something that totally needs worked on smarter, not harder.”

Dean also felt that Student Resource Officers are a benefit to have at the schools. The need for security officers at all schools was also addressed.

Ceasing the hiring of Student Resource Officers, as well as the training and hiring of its own security guards by the District, was one of the proposals by Acting Superintendent Denise Johnston as one of 10 possible solutions to trimming the District’s 2017-2018 Operational Budget. The meeting finished with a discussion of these solutions, which included trimming legal services, suspension of sick-leave bonuses, changes in personnel and their titles in the Transportation Department, not filling two vacancies in the Business Services Department and reclassifying a position in the Maintenance Department.

One of the possible solutions was trimming the Board’s training and travel expenses.  In 2016-2017, the Board spent $20,000 in travel and training expenses, as well as receiving $17,295 in meeting attendance stipends ($95-per-meeting). That led to a light-hearted moment.

“Why not just have an all-volunteer Board and receive our training here,” Board member Lujan said. “Suspend all out-of-state travel.”

Board member Serrano answered.

“I’m amused to hear you say that,” he said.

That drew soft laughter from the audience.

Acting Superintendent Johnson thanked everyone for their input and the meeting adjourned soon after.