Hargraves: Why I’m Proposing Matching Funds For XQ Odyssey School

LAPS Board Member

Out of the original 1,400 XQ teams across the country, our local XQ Odyssey team is in the top 50 finalists. According to the XQ Super School Project, the five winning teams will be announced as well as possible funding opportunities for the other 45 teams Wednesday, Sept. 14.

At the Sept. 13 School Board meeting, a vote will be made identifying uses for the General Obligation (GO) Bond. The Bond election will be held early 2017. Currently proposed projects are renovation of Barranca Elementary School and various maintenance projects across other District school sites.

As the Board member most involved with the XQ Odyssey Academy, it’s important to realize the XQ Institute may offer a variety of opportunities to schools after the competition winners are announced. A demonstration of commitment by the School Board sends a strong positive message to the XQ Institute and to our community that the reimagining of education is happening in Los Alamos.

During the Bond agenda item discussion, I will offer a motion that if LAPS Odyssey Academy is not one of the top five schools selected by XQ for full funding, the Board commit to match money which may later be awarded by XQ Institute with GO bond money up to $1 Million.

My reasoning is that committing all bond funds before important educational decisions are made this fall would be a mistake. Two important initiatives are underway that may affect our educational programs: the XQ Odyssey Academy and Early College High School.  Both programs will broaden opportunities for all students. The capital requirements of these programs are unknown, and preempting possible capital needs of the programs would be a mistake.

I contacted School Board President Jim Hall about the motion, and he believes the motion is germane. President Hall has publically supported expanding learning opportunities by implementing such programs as an Odyssey Academy and an Early College and Career Academy.

In summary, I believe school bond money can be used both to expand educational opportunities and to remodel Barranca Elementary. Except for renovation of Barranca Elementary, we need to postpone decisions about uses of capital funds until we have a fuller understanding of our 2017 program initiatives and can balance major maintenance needs with educational programmatic needs. The Board, supported by our public, will continue to provide the best facilities and programs possible with our resources even in these times of state financial constraints.   

As part of continued community collaboration for the Odyssey Academy project the Los Alamos Daily Post is hosting an XQ announcement viewing party at 1 p.m., Wednesday at its downtown office at 1247 Central Ave., and Smith’s Marketplace is providing cake for the party. Our Community is invited to attend. RSVP at https://xqlosalamos. splashthat.com/.