Santa Fe Public Schools to release students early on Thursday to rally at Roundhouse

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A controversial decision will let thousands of kids out of school early Thursday. The superintendent says the bottom line is that state budget cuts have a direct impact on them.

Superintendent Veronica Garcia says the Santa Fe school district could see cuts of $10 million next school year. She says that will have an impact on everyone in the district, and that’s why she is encouraging students, staff and parents to rally at the Roundhouse Thursday.

“It’s not a compromise everybody’s going to be happy with, but I think it’s a responsible decision and one that maintains the integrity of the educational program, and still addresses the needs of our parents,” Garcia said.

Superintendent Garcia posed the question in an online survey: Should school be canceled all day for a morning rally, let out early, or should the rally happen after school or not at all?

She says 5,000 people voted with 80 percent wanting school closed all day. In the end, she decided to dismiss school after lunch.

Garcia says it’s important for people to understand how big of an impact the state’s school funding decisions will have.

“Teachers could lose their jobs which means larger class sizes. Teachers and faculty, staff, could see less pay. Some may just lose their jobs completely if we have to eliminate positions. All of this impacts children and the demoralization of teachers, teachers fleeing the profession,” Garcia said.

The superintendent says the early dismissal will not keep the district from meeting the state’s requirements on instructional days for the school year. That was a big factor in her decision.

The rally will start at 3 p.m. Thursday on the east side of the Roundhouse.

A spokesperson for the governor responded to the move, calling it despicable and a blatant political stunt.

For more information on Thursday’s early dismissal and the rally at the Roundhouse, click here.