A completely renovated music building for Moriarty High School and a new commons area top the list for big changes in the Moriarty-Edgewood School District this year, as enrollment appears to be holding steady. That’s according to district superintendent Tom Sullivan.

Enrollment numbers are important because the state’s funding of public schools is based on a formula multiplied by the number of students. Sullivan said at the end of the last school year it looked like numbers were “remarkably stable,” adding, “We’ve got fingers and toes crossed that the people who were with us in May will be here next Wednesday, hopefully along with some new families.”

The music building has been completely redone, adding classroom space, practice rooms, and bringing the high school’s whole music department into one building after displacing classes for a full year last year, Sullivan said.

The high school added a new band director, Cara Schreffler, who graduated from Moriarty High School in 1999, he said. She had been band director at St. Pius High School in Albuquerque.

Rob Adams is the new principal at the high school. Adams had been principal at Moriarty Elementary School and Moriarty Middle School previously, Sullivan said.

“He’s got a great understanding of the community and the transition between the grades and the alignment systems that we utlilize,” Sullivan said.

Amanda Wilson, formerly assistant principal at the high school, is taking the leadership position as principal of Moriarty Middle School. “Among many skills, Ms. Wilson clearly has a passion for the at-risk youth population, and sees education as a real opportunity to turn some families’ lives around,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan described improvements to the high school’s commons area as “spectacular,” and said the area has been much expanded by removing some walls. He also said all of the school’s food service is now in a single area, which was not the case previously.

The commons is also a multi-purpose room with screens and projectors, and can be used for “all kinds of other activities,” Sullivan said.

The school district is fully staffed, the superintendent said, with about 40 new hires in all departments.

“Our budget actually regressed a little bit because there was no new money from the Legislature and there are already built-in mandates for salary increases for people eligible to change their licensure level, as well as insurance increases we had to absorb,” Sullivan said. “We’re not as stable financially as we were in enrollment, but far better than what we experienced for many, many years consecutively.”

In addition to the major renovations at the high school, “there’s been work underway on pretty much every campus in one form or another,” Sullivan said. One change is that the district moved its administrative offices from their longtime location adjacent to Moriarty Middle School into the Mountainview Elementary campus, just about halfway between Moriarty and Edgewood on Route 66.

“We’re in a competitive environment, whether with Albuquerque or anywhere else,” Sullivan said. “The quality of our facilities and the sense of pride the nice facilities can create and foster translates into, I think, more focused students. It’s just a better instructional environment.”

The school district has also established new criteria for technology in the classroom including a minimum number of computers available for student use. Workshops and training for teachers over the summer months were very well attended, he said.

The district continues to offer dual credit for high school seniors taking post-secondary classes through Eastern New Mexico University, CNM, the University of New Mexico and Mesalands Community College, and it still offers a distance learning program.

“I’ve never started a school year not wishing we had two more weeks to get ready,” Sullivan said, but said the schools would be ready for those 2,500 students in any case.

For more information, contract the Moriarty-Edgewood School District at 505-832-4471 or visit mesd.us.