Raton Public Schools

For the last several years the Raton Public Schools have seen a downward trend in enrollment.   In response to declining enrollment our district consolidated from 5 school sites to 3 school sites in the 2015-16 school year.  In the process, the district gained $856,000 in savings, but then lost that money to small size unit value.  The cash balance as of June 30, 2016 was $917,000 due to consolidation of schools.  This cash balance was already encumbered for the 2017 school year.  We used this money to keep personnel for the 2017 school year.  Without equivalent savings this year, district income is $996,000 below budgetary needs.  The district cannot maintain payroll with that much of a shortfall in the budget.  The unit value for the SEG (State Equalization Guarantee) allocation into the district budget is determined by the 80 / 120 day average student enrollment.    This is the enrollment trend since school year 2008:

2007-2008                1380

2008-2009                1371

2009-2010                1340

2010-2011                1304

2011-2012                1235

2012-2013                1153

2013-2014                1045

2014-2015                977

2015-2016                969

2016-2017                961

Keep in mind that the average number from the previous school year is utilized to determine the number of units funded for the following school year.  Our enrollment has declined over the years.  The cash balance that was saved during consolidation was used to supplement the budget this year.  Through attrition and some streamlining in other areas, allowed us to avoid a RIF in the 2016-17 school year.  

The board, along with the superintendent and administration, made a conscious decision to retain as many jobs as possible during the last few years by supplementing with cash balance money in an effort to keep classroom teachers working in our district.  We did apply for emergency supplemental in December 2016 and in January received $184,000 to finish the year.  The amount left after payroll and bills $130,000 will be used to supplement the budget next year.   The state recommends 1.5% - 3% in cash balance in a school district.  We will apply for emergency supplemental again next year.


With enrollment decline and consolidation savings lost, Raton Public Schools is facing a major budget shortfall.  The increase in insurance cost to the district adds the budget shortfall.  For these reasons, the school board and the administration are committed to establishing a budget that is balanced with no shortfalls.

It is important to note with staffing changes teacher prep periods may be impacted.  We will release schools at 2:30 to accommodate teacher preps.


Enrollment projections allow for attrition to occur at Longfellow.

Kindergarten – Estimate 65- three classes

First – 70 – three classes

Second – 74 – four classes

This provides 10 classroom teachers for 209 students -   a PTR of 20/1


Third – 97 - four classes

Fourth – 89 – four classes

Fifth – 70 -  three classes

Sixth - 65 – three classes

This provides 14 classroom teachers for 321 students – a PTR of 23/1


Enrollment Projections are:

Seventh – 65 – three classes

Eighth – 81

Ninth – 72

Tenth – 92

Eleventh- 67

Twelfth – 50

The total enrollment at the high school is projected to be 427 students.  For grades 8-12, in the core subject areas of Math 2 teachers, Social Studies, and Science there will be 2.5 teachers.  For grades 8-12, in the core area of English Language Arts there will be 3 teachers because of mandates for student loads.  Though we will need to work creatively with schedules, we needed to consider each individual teacher and the endorsements they have.  We will still continue to offer a high standard of education we expect in our classrooms.    We have used attrition and RIF in other areas to supplement the budget.  


Due to the small number of employees in the departments in our district, I do not want to specifically list departments in which reductions will be made as this could provide personally identifiable information about staff members.  In the process of balancing the budget, there will be program cuts at each school.  Reductions will occur in areas considered certified, non- certified, administrative, and custodial.

As required by law, as to the persons currently assigned to the positions impacted by the RIF, any and all alternate positions within their respective qualifications were considered, and no other positions exist based on the special and circumstances as analyzed under the criteria set forth in the collective bargaining agreement that guide the Superintendent’s recommendation for the RIF.  


For a period of 12 months after the effective date of layoff of any employee under this REDUCTION IN FORCE policy, the District will offer any position(s) which become available and for which a laid off employee is licensed and/or qualified provided that the laid off employee has complied with the rules below:

  1. Laid off personnel will automatically be placed on the recall list unless the person notifies the District in writing that she/he does not wish to be recalled.
  2. It is the responsibility of the laid off person to notify the District of any change of status or address.
  3. Selection of persons to be recalled will be by seniority (the most senior laid off employees will be recalled first).
  4. If none of the persons laid off under article 15 (CBA) within the classifications accepts the district’s offer of recall, then the district will extend the offer to other laid off persons who are qualified for the position(s).


With reductions described above, remaining staff members may be transferred to other positions for which they are licensed/qualified to meet the needs of the district.  Future implementation of REDUCTION IN FORCE may be necessary to meet future financial obligations.


Raton Public Schools


*Approved by Board of Education 8/15/2016*

Success in school depends on regular on-time attendance.  New Mexico’s Compulsory School Attendance Law allows students a maximum of ten (10) unexcused absences per year.


Parents must notify the school when their student is absent for any reason.  Although parents may call their student’s school to inform the office of an absence, absences will be excused only with written notification received by the school in writing no later than two (2) days following the absence.  All unverified absences become unexcused absences.

A.  Excused absences are:

              1.  Doctor or dentist appointment with note upon return.

              2.  Medical illnesses.  

·       Student illness of up to two (2) consecutive days may be excused with the parent’s written note.

·       Student illness of three (3) or more consecutive days will require a doctor’s note in order to be excused.  The doctor’s note should be received in the office the day the student returns to school.

·       After the tenth (10) medical absence per year, a student will be required to verify additional medical absences through a physician, the school nurse, or other medical provider. Upon medical verification of prolonged or chronic illness (ten days or more), the school nurse will work with the student and parent to develop an intervention plan.  

              3.  Bereavement for immediate family, with parent’s written notice.

              4.  Absences approved by the principal due to family emergencies or other circumstances.


B.   Unexcused absences are:

    1.  All unverified absences and other absences not listed above, will be counted as unexcused absences.  An unverified absence is when your child misses school and the parent/guardian has failed to tell the school why he/she was gone.

    2.  When a student has received 10 consecutive days of absences, the student will be withdrawn after three (3) documented attempts have been made to contact the parent and establish an intervention plan.  A letter will be sent with a date, time and place to meet with the building principal/district designee to develop an intervention plan. The School will contact local law enforcement to do a welfare check at this time.


C.           Students in Need of Early Intervention (also referred to as truants) are in violation of the compulsory school attendance law.  It is defined as an absence from school without the permission of parents and school authorities or leaving school without checking out through the principal’s office.  

·       A truant is a student who has accumulated five (5) unexcused absences within a school year.  

·       A habitual truant is one who has accumulated ten (10) unexcused absences within a school year.  

·       Parents of habitual truants will be notified by mail as detailed below in section E below, EXCESSIVE ABSENCES.

·       A report on habitual truants is made to the Juvenile Probation Office.  


D.           Partial Days – Tardiness and early departures are classroom disruptions and are disrespectful to the teacher and other students.  Frequent tardiness may result in disciplinary action; that action may include making up the time during recess, at lunch, or after school.  Three (3) tardies shall count as an unexcused absence.

    1.  Tardies will be designated as excused or unexcused.

    2.  According to the specific elementary school guidelines, a student will be considered tardy if they are not in attendance by the time designated, unless we are on a delayed start day.  After that time the student will be considered tardy until 10 minutes after the delayed start time and then it becomes an absence.  If the student has not attended school in the morning, an absence will be recorded and a tardy will be received up to ten (10) minutes after the ending lunch bell rings.  Beyond 10 minutes, an absence will be recorded.

    3.  Half of a school day will vary according to the length of the school day.  A specific elementary school guideline will be added to the attendance policy of each school to let the parents know where the half day point has been set.

    4.  If a student has been picked up early from school five (5) times and arrangements have not been made with the building principal, the student and the parent will receive a letter indicating a date, time and place to meet with the building principal/district designee to develop an intervention plan.


E.           Excessive absences are defined as ten (10) or more absences per semester, either excused or unexcused.  When a student accumulates ten (10) UNEXCUSED absences within the school year, he or she is in violation of the state compulsory attendance law.  Continued absences and consequent academic failure may also lead to a recommendation for retention at the current grade level. When determining the consequences for excessive absences, the principal will consider student and parent efforts to pick up and return daily assignments.  

Parent Notifications

              1.  When a student accumulates five (5) absences, excused or unexcused, the counselor or principal’s office will notify parents by mail of the accumulation of absences and district attendance policy.

              2.  When a student accumulates seven (7) UNEXCUSED absences within the school year, parents will be notified by mail and an attendance meeting will be scheduled.  The date, time and place that the principal/district designee will meet with the student and parents will be included in the letter.  The meeting will serve to discuss necessary interventions.  Students with patterns of absences may be referred to the SAT (Student Assistance Team) for development of an intervention plan.

              3.  When a student accumulates nine (9) UNEXCUSED absences within the school year,   parents will be notified by certified mail of an attendance meeting.  The date, time and place to meet will be included in the letter.  The meeting will serve to discuss necessary interventions and sign an attendance contract.  A report will also be filed with the Juvenile Probation services and the student will be referred to community based mental health service providers. 


A student will be considered TARDY up to the following times for the MORNING:

                         Longfellow Elementary                    9:00 am            

Raton Intermediate School               9:00 am


Elementary grade students arriving after these times will accumulate a

half day absence for the morning.               


The cut off for half of a day of school is:

                         Longfellow Elementary                    11:00 am  

Raton Intermediate School               11:30 am

Raton High School                          11:30 am


A student will be considered TARDY up to the following times for the AFTERNOON:

                         Longfellow Elementary                    12:00 pm  

Raton Intermediate School               12:30 pm


Elementary students arriving after these times will accumulate a

half day absence for the afternoon.

*High school students arriving more than 15 minutes late for any class period will be marked absent for that class period.

Spanish version is available upon request.


We look forward to a great year of learning

If your child is absent you must contact the “school” they attend to report absence

Longfellow -445-9261     RIS-  445-9881      RHS- 445-3541

TIPS for Parents and Students for Success