Carlsbad schools grapple with effects of housing shortage
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — A housing shortage in southeastern New Mexico’s oil patch is an obstacle to recruiting educators and retaining students, the superintendent of Carlsbad Municipal Schools said.
Superintendent Greg Rodriguez told members of the state Legislative Finance Committee on Wednesday that the district’s academic achievement was lacking, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported .
While the district is expecting up to 200 new students for the next school year, the recent oil and gas boom in the area has caused a shortage in housing, Rodriguez said. The shortage doesn’t just affect students and their families, but also teachers, he said.
“A problem is housing. If we had more housing, we’d have more families and more students,” Rodriguez said. “When I hire a teacher, I ask will they have a place to live. Most of the time, the answer is no.”
Recognizing the superintendent’s concerns at the meeting, Republican state Rep. Cathrynn Brown suggested the shortage could be mitigated by providing apartments for teachers.
“I’ve been concerned about the housing shortage and how it’s affecting the school districts,” Brown said. “You find a good teacher, but then they can’t find a place to live, and you’re back to square one.”
For the students and teachers who stay in Carlsbad, Rodriguez said his administration is planning to provide more professional development services for teachers while also increasing strategic assessments of instruction.
The district should be focused on the quality of education for students, and its spending needs to be directed mostly toward the classroom instead of the administration, Rodriguez said.
“It’s taking the lens from the deficits in our kids, to the deficits in how we’re giving that instruction,” Rodriguez said. “Being a new teacher, by your third year if you don’t have that support, you’re likely to get burnout. We’re trying to make sure they are part of a culture they want to be a part of.”
Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus, http://www.currentargus.com/