Published: 1:00 pm, Fri. Jan. 8th, 2016Updated: 3:18 pm
The Artesia Public Schools Board of Education approved the renewal of the contract of Dr. Crit Caton, superintendent of schools, for another year during Thursday’s school board meeting.
“It’s always easy to follow a disaster, but it’s difficult to follow a good operation, and you’ve done that very well,” Board President Lowell Irby said. “We appreciate that. You’re well known throughout the state for that good form, so we’re glad to have you with us, and that you are staying with us.”
Caton accepted the contract and thanked the board, the community, and the employees of the district.
“I’ve always said you just surround yourself with good people and let them do their work,” Caton said. “It’s not one person, it’s not me. I appreciate all the work that everyone does. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the staff we have and, of course, the 425 employees of the district.”
In other business, the board received another update from the Dekker, Perich, Sabatine architectural firm on the current status of the proposed APS Administration Building and a tentative calendar of events that will lead up to the eventual completed project in May 2017.
Danny Parker, assistant superintendent of instruction and federal programs, reported to the board that 2016 PARCC testing will take place in the district from April 12 – May 6. He stated not all students in all schools will be testing each and every day of that time frame, and that the testing will only take away an average of four days per student from regular classroom instruction time.
There were no staff and operations items for this meeting, and Caton gave a brief report to the board on the upcoming legislative session as well as a New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) update.
Caton also reminded members the APS HB33 Mill Levy election will be held Feb. 2.
“I want to emphasize that this does not increase taxes,” Caton said. “It continues the current rate for the next six years to help with technology upgrades, building facilities, and putting roofs on buildings. Get your significant others, parents and children, if they are eligible, to go vote in favor of passing this.”
A mill levy pamphlet has been published for the APS and will be distributed throughout the district prior to the election. It is also available at the APS Administration Building.
Caton additionally reported school grades for the district were revealed just prior to the winter break. He stated he had not given a statement regarding these grades until now, as “we’re not sure how accurate they are.”
“I am happy with what we received one A, four B’s, four C’s, and one D, and a lot of those we missed going up by one-half of a percentage point,” Caton said. “But on the flip side of the coin, from year to year a lot of times we have to take things with a grain of salt, and so it is what it is. I’m not going to get overly excited and I’m not going to get overly depressed. We’re just going to keep teaching kids and do the best we can.”
Penasco Elementary was the lone school receiving an A grade. Receiving B’s were Park Junior High, Zia Intermediate, Hermosa Elementary and Yeso Elementary. C grades went to Central Elementary, Roselawn Elementary, Yucca Elementary and Grand Heights Early Childhood Center, while Artesia High School was graded a D.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the APS board is slated for 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8.