Bill to break up Albuquerque Public Schools is presented in Roundhouse

APS has become a bureaucratic mess unable to address the needs of the several distinct communities in Albuquerque. Rep. Rehm’s plan would direct the district to appoint a committee of key stakeholders to develop a plan to reorganize the district in order to build a better schools system to address the needs of each community in a more localized manner.

Santa Fe, NM- A bill to break up the state’s largest school district, Albuquerque Public Schools (APS), has been introduced by Representative Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque). House Bill 320, enacts a proposal for APS to create a committee of key stakeholders to develop a plan that would reorganize the district into separate districts in order to equitably represent the various community needs of the city of Albuquerque. 

APS has been under tremendous public focus following the school board’s failure to deliver a plan to allow for in-person learning and sports programs for students, teachers and staff while districts surrounding the city and across the state had delivered plans for re-entry for their local communities. The board did announce on Friday that they would allow reentry on April 5th following public pressure and criticism from Governor Lujan Grisham and lawmakers. The decision to allow for in-person learning on April 5th was only approved after the Governor adjusted vaccinations to include educators, and will bring the state’s largest school district back into the classroom a month following other schools across the state.

“It is clear that APS has allowed the needs of the adults to supersede the need of our students, and for that I am greatly disappointed,” said HB 320 sponsor Representative Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque). “It makes you wonder why other school districts across New Mexico could return children to their classrooms, and APS could not. APS is a bureaucratic disaster and clearly cannot immediately respond to the needs of our children. HB320 will bring key community leaders together to ensure that our children, teachers and staff are not held hostage to one board that cannot address the needs of our communities in an equitable manner.”

In a recent APS board meeting it was revealed that in the year-long schools shutdown APS has doubled the number of failing students from 8,000 to 16,000 in virtual learning. The failure rate of the district is a troubling metric in a state that has historically ranked nationally at the bottom of most education lists, coupled with the Yazzie lawsuit which highlighted a historic disenfranchisement of minority children.

HB 320 has been sent to the House Education Committee for a hearing, a hearing date has not been set.