October 2013 Column

  We are blessed to have great classroom teachers at Hobbs Municipal Schools. Teachers carry the yeoman’s weight on their shoulders and receive a tremendous amount of attention regarding student performance. But public education is an intricate timepiece with many moving parts.

 Those classroom teachers and the rest of our staff are currently contending with two competing conditions which limit our ability to reduce class size. Budget will always be a concern for Hobbs Municipal Schools. A report from the Legislative Finance Committee lists Hobbs as 89th out of 89 districts in per-pupil reimbursement. (This is a continuing saga). The second scenario is limited space. HMS hired an additional 25 certified staff members this school year to help with an increased number of kids. Our goal was to reduce class sizing by putting a teacher in every teachable space in our elementary schools. This was accomplished at a price tag of $1.6 million.

  In the meantime, Hobbs Municipal Schools has 1,035 total employees. More than 600 of those employees are certified classroom teachers. So, what do the remaining 400 workers do? We employ nurses, technology folks, speech pathologists, social workers, counselors, secretaries, custodians, coaches, psychologists, instructional assistants, computer lab managers, warehouse staff, grounds maintenance workers, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, delivery drivers, as well as inter campus mail delivery, printing services, business office, data processing and nutritional services. This does not include the staff seen on our campuses on a daily basis that are either contract service or are part of another organization such as Student Resource Officers provided by the City of Hobbs; Honeywell, who takes care of all our heating and air conditioning needs; and bus contractors who make sure our children arrive to and from school safely each day. I’m sure I have inadvertently left off staff members and I apologize if I did. The previously mentioned staff are our unsung heroes. They make sure things are taken care of behind the scenes so teachers can do their part in the classroom. When dealing with nine thousand students, it takes a small army of highly qualified staff to meet the needs of every child. Each child is unique and each campus has its own specific wants and needs. There are days when I am amazed at the efficiency in which this organization can function due to the variety of requests and expectations placed upon a public educational institution.

  A couple of bits of information we deal with on a daily basis:
· 3,600 students ride a bus to and from school
· 8,500 meals are prepared by nutritional services daily (473 meals prepared per employee)
· Custodians maintain over 1.4 million square feet of buildings
· Grounds crews maintain over 220 acres of playgrounds with four employees
· Honeywell maintains 1,050 heating and air conditioning units with three employees
· Computer Assisted Instruction manage 20,000 technological devices with six employees
· Nurses give 4,000 flu shots and 1,000 immunizations annually
In conjunction with these services, our Special Education department takes care of some of our most fragile children. Many parents chose to send their children to Hobbs Municipal schools because other communities are unable to offer comprehensive services. The Special Education Department handles children that are highly gifted to students with learning disabilities.

 Although it can be a daunting task, the end result is worth the effort to educate the great children of Hobbs Municipal Schools
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