By Marty Mayfield
The Raton Board of Education met Monday evening in a special meeting with a single item on the agenda, to approve a Reduction In Force plan for the Raton School system.
Superintendent Andy Ortiz told the four member board that he was asking for the board’s approval on a reduction in force plan to be implemented on Tuesday May 9, 2017. The board was familiar with the plan and with no discussion they approved the plan unanimously and adjourned the meeting, it lasted about five minutes.
According to Ortiz the Raton Schools are looking at a major budget deficit of close to $900,000 this year. Part of the deficit comes from the way the school system was reorganized after closing Columbian and Kearny schools and consolidating into a three building plan which resulted in Raton losing the small school certification. A declining enrollment also adds to that deficit.
Ortiz in his first year as superintendent has inherited a mess noted former superintendent Butch McGowen, who is helping Ortiz with budget. Plans are in the works to reestablish the small school certification that Raton would have had, had former superintendent Neil Terhune not closed the two school buildings. The final numbers aren’t in yet but had the two schools not been closed the deficit would still be there, but smaller, by how much has not been determined.
Ortiz will now begin the painful process of notifying those that will be affected by the cuts. Programs will also be cut but Ortiz noted he wanted to inform the staff and faculty in person before it became public as to what cuts were going to be made.