PRESS RELEASE - March 5, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Secretary of Education Returns MAST Charter School Application to APS for Approval with Conditions

(Santa Fe NM)--Saying that she wants to foster good working relationships between school districts and charter schools, Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García today sent back the charter application for the MAST (math, science and technology) High School to the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) for approval, with conditions. Her decision followed a two-hour hearing in Santa Fe, which included testimony from Public Education Department (PED) staff, the charter school and the district.

“I look forward to hearing good things about this charter school. They must recruit a diverse population of students, and do so without negatively affecting the mission of Albuquerque High School. We potentially could have much to learn from this charter and APS on how to raise expectations for all students,” she said.

In making her decision, Secretary García followed the recommendation of PED staff. Both the MAST High School founders and APS’ representatives agreed with the staff recommendation prior to Secretary Garcia’s decision.

The MAST High School will be granted approval to operate beginning in the fall of 2005, following an additional year of planning. As part of the conditions stipulated by Secretary García, the charter must develop an independent board of trustees and provide appropriate safeguards against city control of the school.

She further stipulated that the charter school must be open to every child, including special education students and English Language Learners, and that a plan for housing the school must be developed.

The APS board of education denied the charter on December 17, 2003. At issue was city control of the school.