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APS sends $12M back to PED

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Public Schools will see its operational budget decrease by about $12 million because of unused K-5 Plus or Extended Learning Time dollars.

At a Monday finance committee meeting, the Board of Education voted to adjust the budget to account for money the district won’t receive because of program enrollment, a requirement by the state Public Education Department for the earmarked funding.

Implementation for both programs brought hurdles statewide, either because of strict guidelines or quick turnarounds.

Teresa Scott, executive director for budget and strategic planning, said the budget adjustment won’t affect daily operations because the money was exclusively for K-5 Plus and Extended Learning Time.

“Although the district has seen a $12 million decrease in budget, this will not impact the normal functions of running the school district,” she said.

Both programs increase the school year, giving students more time in the classroom. K-5 Plus adds 25 days to the beginning of the school calendar and Extended Learning Time lengthens the school year by 10 days.

APS was initially awarded about $19 million – $10 million for Extended Learning Time and $8.9 million for K-5 Plus – from the state to implement the programs.

But $12.15 million will be reverted because of program participation.

Fourteen schools offer extended learning time this school year, eight campuswide and six to a portion of its students, according to APS documents. Scott said that translates to 8,489 students districtwide.

Fifty-two schools had K-5 Plus for 1,896 students, she said.

Based on 2019-20 enrollment in these programs, the district will end up with $4.26 million for Extended Learning Time and $2.60 million for K-5 Plus, per APS numbers.

In her presentation to the board, Scott said K-5 Plus was the most difficult to administer because of strict guidelines. Students had to have the same teacher and cohort of students in the summer portion as the rest of the school year and kids in each grade had to participate.

Scott said APS used roughly $3 million of its funds to make the program happen in schools that couldn’t fully meet the criteria and, therefore, weren’t fully funded by PED.

How K-5 Plus was handled was cited by a governor’s spokesman as among the concerns that led to the termination of Karen Trujillo as secretary of education in the state.

As for extended learning, APS officials said the district originally applied for funding for many more schools than participated to keep options open. Ultimately 14 schools were able to employ it in the time allotted.

APS spokeswoman Johanna King said the district is working on its plans for next school year.

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