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APS sends budget to Santa Fe, including pay raises for teachers

Albuquerque Public Schools has sent off its $1.35 billion budget for fiscal year 2019 to the New Mexico Public Education Department.

The district said teachers, counselors, school nurses and librarians are expected to get at least 2.5 percent pay increases, which were included in the state spending plan.

That plan also upped the minimum starting teacher pay from $34,000 to $36,000 per year.

Other APS employees are projected to get a 2 percent raise.

Salary increases still have to go through union negotiations, but they could kick in July 1.

According to APS, the last time most employees got a raise was in 2013, when salaries increased 1 percent.

Other budget items include funding to run Tres Volcanoes Community Collaborative School, a new K-8 school on Albuquerque’s West Side, and the expansion of eCademy.

APS Chief Financial Officer Tami Coleman

APS Chief Financial Officer Tami Coleman

“Overall, I am pleased with this budget,” APS Chief Financial Officer Tami Coleman said in a statement. “It’s a solid, balanced budget that has been built in a much calmer environment than the past few years.”

APS spokeswoman Johanna King said the district didn’t make any budget cuts this year.

That makes a big contrast with last school year, when APS made cuts of over $25 million.

The Board of Education approved the budget in late May and the district sent its budget to Santa Fe on Monday, where it is awaiting approval from PED.

The district is still facing enrollment woes.

APS says it has been losing an average of 1,000 students a year since 2012, which is anticipated to cost the district about $12 million this coming school year.

“Declining enrollment trends are preventing the district from implementing or expanding programs, but there are no budget cuts to speak of,” Coleman’s statement said.

She thinks the enrollment drop can’t be blamed on just one factor.

She has heard some students are opting for charter schools, and some families have left the city for economic reasons.

“I suspect that there is no one reason for the decline, but a multitude of factors are responsible,” she wrote in her statement.

According to APS’ budget documents, PED will conduct a technical review June 14.

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