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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 30, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 26Apr00

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.


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