27th SOW leaders host town hall meeting, discuss possible school closure

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Leadership at the 27th Special Operations Wing hosted a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed closure of Ranchvale Elementary School in Clovis, and provide a forum for parents and interested parties to have their questions answered by representatives from community-connected wing agencies, Feb. 3 at the base theater.

 

Prior to opening the floor to discussion, Lt. Col. Diane Sullivan, 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group deputy commander, and Lori Dunn, 27th Special Operations Force Support Squadron school liaison, outlined some of the safety and logistical challenges that motivated Clovis School District decision makers to propose Ranchvale’s closure.

 

Data presented at the town hall meeting cites safety issues relating to the elementary school’s remote location, approximately 11 miles outside Clovis city limits, as one of the school board’s chief concerns. Not only are emergency response times significantly delayed when compared to schools in town, Ranchvale’s isolated position requires water service to be piped in from a privately owned well and tested monthly, a measure not easily justified when taking into account the subpar condition of school facilities as a whole.

 

According to the school district’s assessment, the failing roof, poor condition of existing stucco and windows, inadequate parking space and the location of the drainage ditch within the front parking lot top the list of most pressing exterior issues needing remedy.

 

Equally urgent within the elementary school is the lack of fire-rated doors, restrooms that do not meet Americans with Disability Act guidelines, water pipe, sewer lines and heating ventilation and air conditioning systems that are beyond expected life, primary and secondary electrical service that require upgrade, and many classrooms measuring below adequacy standards for operational square footage.

 

Because it was determined that more than 1,000 empty seats exist within the district, the Public School Facilities Authority will not fund the renovation or rebuilding of Ranchvale, projects estimated to cost up to $10 and $20 million respectively.

 

During her briefing, Sullivan also explained there were 763 homes at Cannon prior to construction and renovation. To date 706 homes have been completed; however, an additional 332 homes are expected to be added to the base’s inventory by the spring of 2017, bringing the total to 1,038. The added number of families is expected to come with a proportionate increase in elementary-aged children, potentially exceeding Ranchvale’s capacity under current zoning guidelines.

 

In light of these and many other challenges, the school district is working to develop a viable way forward, keeping in mind the need to uphold and facilitate high quality education.

 

At this time the majority of students who attend Ranchvale are expected to relocate to Barry Elementary School in Clovis. Both schools received an A educational rating, a score based on state testing results under the Common Core, and teachers from Ranchvale will transfer to Barry.

 

For more information or to participate in the discussion, school board meetings are open to the public and held the fourth Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the Clovis Municipal School District located on Main Street. The next meeting is on the 23d of February.  Agenda items for each meeting are posted on the district’s website 72 hours in advance of the meetings, with actionable items being presented to the board one month in advance of the action or vote taking place. Members of the community are permitted to speak, but must fill out a speaker card prior to the meeting.

 

Contact information for relevant agencies and individuals can be found below.

Clovis Municipal Schools Deputy Superintendent of Operations: 
carrie.bunce@clovis-schools.org

Clovis School Board: 
kyle.snider@clovis-schools.org
paul.cordova@clovis-schools.org
terry.martin@clovis-schools.org
justin.howalt@clovis-schools.org

cindy.osburn@clovis-school.org

Cannon School Liaison Officer: 

575-784-1528

lori.dunn.1@us.af.mil