Summarized by Kent Larsen
Students to Leave for Religion Class
Alburquerque NM Journal 25Apr00 D1
By Andrea Schoellkopf: Journal Staff Writer
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO -- A newly revised New Mexico state law has
allowed the LDS Church to start released time seminary in Rio Rancho
starting in the Fall. After the law was passed, local LDS leaders
asked the Rio Rancho school board to approve released time, and the
board approved the new policy Monday night.
Previously, New Mexico law allowed released time for up to 60 minutes
during the day. However, Rio Rancho had a system of extended
85-minute classes, which exceeded the 60-minute limit under state
law. The New Mexico legislature simply changed the law to specify
"class period" instead of a time limit.
In Rio Rancho, the released time system now requires that parents
apply for it. The classes do not carry credits and will not help the
students qualify for graduation. The district took pains to make sure
that this restriction is understood. Superintendent Sue Cleveland
told the Journal, "This is in no way sponsored by the school district
... It does not count as an elective."
The change was supplemented by a simultaneous land swap between the
LDS Church and the city. Under the swap the Church got three-fourths
of an acre directly across from the high school. Currently, at least
125 students attend seminary at 5:15 and 6 a.m each day.