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Senator Luján Visits Pojoaque Valley Schools To Talk $1,150,000 Infrastructure Upgrades

Sen Lujan and PVHS Students.jpg
S. Baxter Clinton
Sen. Luján With Pojoaque Valley High School students that came to discuss technology issues at the school. (Joaquin Caraveo, Marisa Martinez, Karen Chiuito Chavez, Ezekiel Atencio, Sen. Ben Ray Luhan)

Senator Ben Ray Luján visited the Pojoaque Valley School District to highlight educational investments that he has put into motion.

Senator Luján was able to secure over 1 million dollars to help the School district overcome some persistent issues.

$400,000 will be put towards improving the technology structures at Pojoaque Valley School District.

Students and teachers attended the session to explain the struggles of trying to learn and educate with the current technology system.

Ezekiel Atencio, A student at Pojoaque Valley High School, attested to the technology issues.

“My main problem is I take computer science as one of my AP classes and my chrome book would never connect to the internet at the beginning of the year so i would have to do all my work, i couldn’t do it in class i had to wait till i got home. And being a student athlete it was hard to get my work done along with sports.”

Eric Hodge, a Social Studies Teacher at Pojoaque Valley High School, had this to say.

“I can’t count the number of times that I’ve had a lesson plan in mind and then abandoned it because I just wasn’t willing to risk a technology heavy lesson and not knowing if the internet would work. “

$750,000 dollars will go towards a housing development for teachers as housing has been a problem in staff retention.

The District has lost 13 employees in the past 18 months due to housing and travel expenses that they were unable to afford on a teachers salary.

Teachers' salaries range between $50,000 and $70,000 and the cost to rent a one bedroom apartment and cover their utilities and travel is 99% to 60% of their income.

The District was able to secure a parcel of land adjacent to the school’s property that will offer six 3 bedroom units and two 2 bedroom units to address this problem.

Senator Luján said this about the housing project.

“Because of these conversations, the leadership here at Pojoaque High School, due to the submission of the community directed spending. This was supported in the senate and the house for $750,000 to contribute and invest in this particular program and I'm hopeful that we can see more of this across the country to provide the solutions.”

Senator Luján attended Pojoaque Valley Schools from Kindergarten through high school, and was glad to see that his efforts will be put towards infrastructure that will allow students to thrive in the modern era, and ease the faculty housing issue, allowing teachers safe affordable living situations.

These are issues that many schools in New Mexico are struggling with.

Baxter is completing an internship at KSFR to for his B.A. in Journalism with an Anthropology minor from the University of Maine. He also Holds an A.A. From Bard College at Simon's Rock.