School Board Votes Against 4 Day Week


You could hear a pin drop. The room was just that silent. The school board had just voted. For a full minute or more people looked around. It seemed like no one outside the board knew what had happened. Finally a couple voices spoke up. “What just happened here?” The question was amplified by stirrings from a confused audience that was not at all sure what had just been proposed and passed by the board.
Without looking at the hundred or so members of the community still gathered, the board said that they had voted to accept the version of the school calendar for the coming school year that mirrored the current calendar, but included Fridays.
It was only then that everyone understood that the board had rejected the proposed four-day school week plan. The room erupted into shouts. Some present shouted out in anger,

School Board Election

school board candidates

The regular election to be held Tuesday, February 7 to elect four school board members will also include an SB9 Property Tax Millage Levy on all property across Sierra County. The two-mill levy will equate to $2 per thousand dollars of assessed value for each piece of property in the school district. This SB9 measure was first passed in 2010 and was set to run for six years, so is currently expired. A vote to renew it failed to pass in 2016 by 95 votes.

Solution Sought For Intersection


With a unanimous vote August 9, Truth or Consequences (T-or-C) City Commissioners approved a resolution (No. O5 16/17) urging the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to install a traffic light at the corner of New School Road and Date Street.
Introduced by commissioner Rolf Hechler, the measure responds to numerous complaints, which emphasize how the intersection serves a high volume of traffic and is the primary entry and egress point for students at nearby Hot Springs High School and T-or-C Middle School.

Schools Pause Pool Planning


In a two to one vote during their October 8 regular meeting, the Truth or Consequences (T-or-C) District School board opted to postpone further discussions with the city of T-or-C regarding a proposed swimming pool project.
Vice president Denise Barrera reported on preliminary meetings with city officials, which were initiated following a presentation offered to the board during their August 13 regular session. She explained that the city’s proposal was to join with the school district, and perhaps other area municipalities, in the development of a new swimming pool and recreation center project…

School! Just Days Away


It’s amazing how quickly the summer ended and the new school year is already beginning next week. Registration began this week. Many school officials implied registration went smoothly and that the students seemed refreshed and ready for the new school year to begin.
Grades 1 – 6 and grade 9 begin school Wednesday August 5. Grades 7 – 8 and grades 10 – 12, classes begin Thursday August 6. August 13 is the communities first School Board meeting.
Wandering through the different schools, it was clear crews were hard at work building new furniture for the libraries, floors were being cleaned and waxed everywhere, everyone was working hard to create a safe and comforting…

HSHS Envirothon Wins Third Championship


The local Envirothon team, “The Scat Cats,” won first place in the state competition held in Glorieta New Mexico this past weekend. They will represent the state of New Mexico at the National Competition in Springfield Missouri, July 27 through August 3.
This is Envirothon’s 28th year in existence, the eighth year for the New Mexico competition, and the third win for the team from Hot Springs High School…

School District Food Bank Helping


Late last year, members of the Truth or Consequences District School Board approved the initiation of a food bank program. The program is aimed at providing nutritional aid for families of elementary school students in need of assistance. February marked the initiative’s fifth full month of operation, and organizers are now looking to expand the program to include families of students attending T-or-C Middle School (TCMS).
District Director of Student Achievement, Dr. Robert Vise, who has been spearheading the effort, said the program operates through the Statewide Roadrunner Food Bank and is provided with sufficient commodities to assist fifty local families…

School Testing Poses Hurdles For Students

Among the agenda items addressed by members of the Truth or Consequences District School Board on January 15, was a brief review of recent revisions in the annual PARCC (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) tests, which will soon be occupying the attention of area students.
Hot Springs High School teacher Jaylene McGregor said the revised tests were generally the same as standardized exams student’s encountered last year. She said this year’s program would include timed tests.
The timed format would undoubtedly add a level of stress to an already stressful experience, McGregor said. She went on to highlight additional details about the now fully computerized tests, which appeared to further complicate matters…

School Board Eyes Upgrades For TCMS


With construction of new classrooms and facilities at Truth or Consequences Elementary School (TCES) near completion, and students set to move in this week, district school board members briefly focused attention on planned upgrades for T-or-C Middle School (TCMS) during their regular meeting August 14. As part of her report, district Business Manager Adriana Wolf told board members that an initial estimate for a partial replacement of the TCMS roof anticipated a total project cost of approximately $800,000, with the district’s portion of the bill coming in at just over $555,000. Middle school officials relayed how rainy days now require staff to respond with mops and strategically placed buckets, and said the roof repairs were needed. District Construction Supervisor Kenny Griffis confirmed the point and said he considered the TCMS roof to be the district’s next priority. Griffis explained how the type of roofing utilized at TCMS made patchwork difficult and not very effective. He reminded board members of a plan to replace current swamp coolers with surplus air conditioning units from the TCES project and said the installation of a new roof should coincide with this initiative…


Back To The Books

Students attending T-or-C Middle School dutifully filed from their busses toward their first period classrooms, fresh into the new school year Thursday morning, August 14. The Middle School actually began classes on Tuesday morning and neighboring students at Hot Springs High School started their fall semester on Wednesday. Lingering construction at T-or-C Elementary prompted a delay for the community’s younger students. First through Fifth graders will begin attending classes at both T-or-C Elementary and Sierra Elementary Complex Thursday, August 21, with Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten classes set to begin on August 25 and 27 respectively…

Construction Delays Start Of School

We are excited and looking forward to the opening of the new Truth or Consequences Elementary School building, slated to be ready in early August. Due to the time required to move into the building, and in order to prepare for a quality start to the 2014-2015 school year, there is a need to delay the start of pre-kindergarten through fifth grades. Sixth through twelfth grade will begin as scheduled, with sixth and ninth graders starting on August 12 and the remaining grades on August 13. First through fifth grade students will commence school on Thursday, August 21 at 8:10 a.m. The first day of Kindergarten will be Monday, August 25, and Pre-Kindergarten will begin on Wednesday, August 27. Bus and student drop-off and pick-up will take place in front of the new building. Please be mindful of those directing traffic as the school year begins. The campus websites can be referred to for updated information including the Student Handbook…


Schools Contract For Canine Sweeps

In a unanimous vote, members of the T-or-C District School Board approved a contract with Albuquerque based InterQuest Detection Canines during their regular meeting held on March 13. This action will initiate a series of unannounced sweeps for drugs, alcohol and weapons at Hot Springs High School (HSHS) and T-or-C Middle School (TCMS) over the remainder of the current semester. In a formal announcement to community members, included the legal advertisements in this edition of the Sentinel, district authorities state this effort is being made to deter both the possession and use of such contraband materials and to improve overall safety and security on the district’s secondary level campuses. The district’s statement notes the impromptu searches will periodically target parking lots, empty dressing rooms, vacant restrooms and student lockers. School district officials are encouraging anyone with questions about the program to contact administrative staff for further information. Questions may be directed to officials through the District Central Office located at 180 N. Date St., or by phoning 575-894-8166. In discussions prior to approving the aforementioned contract, Board Member Brett Smith said that while he understands the district’s obligation to protect students, he was nonetheless uncomfortable with the presence of search dogs on school campuses. Several faculty members shared statements indicating they felt the canine searches could effectively serve as a deterrent and aid in school security. Board members were told the proposed contract would only carry through the present semester and would likely include one unannounce…

Is It Big Enough?

Amid a construction report, which noted development of the new T-or-C Elementary School is progressing steadily, Superintendent Craig Cummins acknowledged the new facility would not include sufficient classroom space to handle the anticipated influx of new students in the years ahead. He told board members efforts are now underway to maintain four present Kindergarten classrooms, which were to be removed as part of the new construction plan. Cummins said if the classrooms in question were removed, the district would likely soon encounter a need for additional space. He suggested retaining the brick and mortar classrooms would be preferable to installing temporary trailers at the “new” school and indicated he would be providing further updates regarding this concern during upcoming board sessions…..

Summertime School Work

TCES ConstructionWith students away and summer break providing a short window of opportunity for major aspects of the scheduled renovations to commence, contractors with HB Construction were on task at the Truth or Consequences Elementary School on Monday, June 17. Focusing on demolition of both exterior and interior elements of the old school building, workers will soon be turning their attention toward renovation construction of new classrooms, office space and a full renovation of the facility’s cafeteria complex.

School Gets Underway

These young ladies emerged from their bus smiling and all set to begin a new school year at Sierra Elementary Complex (SEC) early Tuesday morning, August 14. In order to help ease the first day’s confusion, a contingent of faculty members were on hand to welcome the arriving students and help them locate their new classrooms.

This is just one of many stories being covered in this week’s Sierra County Sentinel.

Burris Resigns

By Chuck Wentworth | SENTINEL

In a surprise move following a closed-door executive session at a special meeting of the T-or-C School Board Thursday evening, July 19, board members formally accepted the resignation of District Superintendent Tom Burris.

Attempts to contact Burris about his decision were unsuccessful prior to the Sentinel’s press deadline. However, in a brief telephone interview later in the evening, school board chairman Jay Johnson confirmed that Burris would be stepping away from his position in T-or-C to accept the role of Superintendent for the Roswell School District.

According to Johnson, while Burris expressed disappointment in leaving behind the leadership team he had helped to create during his approximately four years as district superintendent, he felt accepting this role for a larger school district was a career opportunity he could not pass up.

With Burris’ departure confirmed, Johnson said that board members approved the appointment ……

Ashbaugh Named To School Board Vacancy

By Chuck Wentworth | SENTINEL

T-or-C school board members approved the appointment of John Ashbaugh to fill a vacant board position during a special session Monday evening, June 4. The vacancy was created by the departure of former board vice-president Randy Piper.
With board members’ endorsement, Ashbaugh will assume the post and be asked to serve in the role until the next regular school board election in January. At that time, Sierra County voters will be asked to select a candidate to fulfill the remainder of Piper’s original term.
Prior to selecting Ashbaugh, board member Ann Filosa stated she would have ….

5 Apply For Open School Board Seat

By Etta Pettijohn | For The SENTINEL

A total of five local residents have applied to fill the empty seat on the Truth or Consequences Municipal School Board left vacant by the April 27 resignation of  Board Vice President Randy Piper.

Piper has accepted a position as Superintendent of Lordsburg Municipal Schools. He was elected to the Board in 2011, with his term expiring in February 2013.

According to T-or-C Municipal District School Superintendent Tom Burris, the District has advertised for the position in local newspapers, and received letters of intent and qualifications until Monday, May 14. The Board will choose a new member from the field of five applicants to fill the remainder of the position at its May 31 meeting.

The five applicants include…..

TCES Receives Grant For Summer Program

Truth or Consequences Elementary School (TCES) was recently awarded a grant for the summer of 2012. The grant allows the school to extend the school year by one month and provide an emphasis on basic educational skills.

The grant also allows the school to offer kindergarten to third grade students the opportunity to focus on reading, writing and math skills during the program that runs from July 5 to August 8. Classes will run from 8:20 a.m. to 2:50 p.m., Monday through Friday. (Lunch will be provided.)

“We invite all 2012-13 incoming kindergarten through third graders to participate in this summer program,” said Hank Hopkins, principal at TCES.

School officials encourage parents to register their students as early as possible to allow them to staff accordingly.
Persons wishing more information about the TCES K-3 Plus School may contact the elementary school at (575) 894-8372 or e-mail

Funding for the program comes from a PED K-E Plus grant.

FFA Returns From States With Top Honors

Hot Springs High School FFA team members gathered together in Las Cruces last week for the state FFA judging competitions. The Pasture and Range team came back once fist in the state; Arlis Chavez was high point individual in the state. The team will travel to Oklahoma City at the end of the month to participate in the national judging competitions.
Members of the Pasture and Range Team are Arlis Chavez, Nichole McGuire, Mackenzie Green and Savannah Gillis.
Also qualifying to go to nationals was the second place  ….

Saying Goodbye, Coach Lee Retires

Coach Lee Retires

by Jimmy Butler

How do you say goodbye to someone like Coach Travis Lee?  Well, lucky for us we don’t have to because he will still be around.

New Look Police Car Is ‘Tiger Friendly’

The Truth or Consequences Police Department unveiled its “new look” paint scheme for the car assigned to the school’s Resource Officer on Thursday, February 16.

The awesome new graphics the T-or-C Police car now sports are compliments of Desert Graphics (DGI). Don Hearn, owner of Desert Graphics, supplied not only the cool graphics but also supplied the labor involved in applying them to make the car more “Tiger friendly”.

With more attention being paid to the safety of young people while they are at school, many communities are considering strategies, which are intended to make schools safer environments. One of the ways communities are taking action is by making decisions that law enforcement officers need to be assigned to provide coverage to schools so that safety, security and order can..