APS wants to use pandemic funds to avoid laying off staff - Albuquerque Journal

APS wants to use pandemic funds to avoid laying off staff

New Mexico’s largest school district wants to use federal pandemic funding to prevent staff layoffs.

A proposal from Albuquerque Public Schools released Monday would direct $50 million in pandemic relief to offset a loss of state money tied to enrollment decline.

APS Superintendent Scott Elder

Superintendent Scott Elder said in a videoconference that the district lost around 5,000 students and around $50 million in state funding.

“One of the big points of federal money was to allow districts a year to try to stabilize themselves, and without having to do massive layoffs,” Elder said.

If adopted in the final budget, that stabilization would account for 25% of the nearly $200 million the district receives in the next and largest round of federal relief funds for schools.

Around 15% of the proposed budget is aimed at helping chronically absent students. The district also proposed buying more student laptops, upgrading ventilation and paying up to $5,250 in student loans for district employees.

New Mexico school funding is based on student enrollment numbers from the previous year. Enrollment has dropped around 1% every year for the past decade due to population change. It dropped an additional 4% last year as some families chose to home-school rather than participate in remote learning through public schools.


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