Parents question school’s proximity to drug and alcohol program

Correction posted below this story. 

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Some parents in Rio Rancho want to know why school children are sharing a building with a center that treats drug addicts and the mentally ill.

KRQE News 13 learned a lot of parents had no idea the K-8 school and the center were so close to each other.

The charter school, Sandoval Academy of Bilingual Education, opened two years ago. Some parents weren’t happy when they found out the school and the clinic share the same building.

“I thought ‘Oh, my gosh,’ this is so dangerous,” Heather Harvey said.

It’s one of the reason’s Harvey said she dis-enrolled her three children from the charter school.

“The school is not wanting anyone to know about this because it would ruin their numbers and they need a certain number of enrollment in order to stay open,” she said.

The charter school is located on Fulcrum Way in Rio Rancho where it shares the building with Five Sandoval. It’s a behavioral health services program that treats patients, mainly Native Americans, who suffer from alcohol and drug addictions.

According to its website, it also offers treatments like mental health services, job training and food distribution.

While most parents showed concern, some said they’ve never had any bad experiences at the school.

“I do have some concerns, which I’m going to follow up on because I was not aware. However, my daughter absolutely loves this school, nothing but positive things,” Victoria Abeyta-Mancia.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the Public Education Department to ask if there were any restrictions from allowing a school to be this close to the clinic. PED said schools can choose their locations and referred us to the state’s Public Schools Facility Authority (PSFA).

PSFA said its responsibility is to make sure a proposed school building is in good condition and up to fire code. PSFA said that was the case when it cleared the charter school to move into the facility two years ago.

PED said it’s checking to verify the school hasn’t violated any zoning laws.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the clinic distributed methadone. The clinic says that is not the case. We apologize for the error. 

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