Questa postpones Río Costilla School closure decision again
The Questa Independent Schools Board of Education met for a Tuesday (Dec. 18) meeting where the board once again held off a discussion on the closure of Río Costilla Southwest Learning Academy.
For several years, the board has discussed closing the small school in far northern Taos County as a cost savings measure. Most recently, the board has considered the school closing while already cutting close to $1 million off their budget. Río Costilla’s fate has been removed from the agenda at the past two board meetings, leaving the discussion likely to take place in 2019.
Parents and students have showed up at board meetings in the past to show their support for the school, which currently has 28 students enrolled in K-6 grades. The school sits just south of the Colorado border in the small town of Costilla, where many parents are saying they do not wish to have their students bussed to Questa.
The board’s main reason for the closure discussion is to save money as Superintendent LeAnne Salazar has said in the past that the school costs roughly between $60,00 and $80,000 per year in utility operations alone.
Salazar is currently out on personal leave and filling in for her is Felipe Blea.
The board also has had one member absent from the past two meetings, making their numbers four. If the board had voted on the school closure, there would have been no fifth vote to break a tie.
The board also struck a discussion of the Inspection of Public Records Act from the agenda and removed Salazar’s evaluation from its executive session during Tuesday’s meeting.
Río Costilla is one of Questa’s consistently highest-performing schools and has a B grade from the state Public Education Department. Should the board vote to close the school, the PED still would have the final say.
The Questa Independent School Board pushed back a vote on closing the Río Costilla Southwest Learning Academy for the second time during Tuesday’s meeting (Dec 18).