The Cimarron Municipal Schools Board of Education and administration need to make sure the district is in compliance when reporting data to the state.
The district was among 34 school districts targeted for review by the New Mexico Public Education Department in April due to questionable increases in enrollment and the number of students needing special education. The administration needs to take the necessary steps to report these numbers as required by the PED in the first place.
School Superintendent James Gallegos said the district is taking care of the discrepancies identified by the education department and the district will not be audited further. Gallegos should provide his staff and administration the proper training so the district does not hit the education department’s radar another year. This could hurt the district when it seeks emergency funding or goes after grants.
It also gives the Legislature ammunition when making arguments to cut education funding. New Mexico’s educational system is among the worst in the country. It is consistently ranked at the bottom. The good news is that the Cimarron Municipal Schools is one of the top-performing districts in the state. Its schools continually make Adequate Yearly Progress even when the standards increase each year.
Gallegos and his staff of administrators and teachers should be commended for the dedication to our youth — at all schools in the district. This last round of audits should serve as a caution that state officials are not messing around when it comes to doling out money for education. More and more school districts will be held to a higher standard. Cimarron’s school officials must improve reporting and start recording their financial data correctly so there are no problems when the education department audits the books.
It is a whole lot easier to do it right the first time than explain any discrepancies later.