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Delays hold up school districts’ notices

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Because of unexpected delays at the New Mexico Public Education Department, data that school districts and charter schools are required by law to have published in local newspapers for informational purposes has not been forthcoming.

The districts are supposed to publish certain information about academic progress between mid-November of one year and mid-November of the next, said Cindy Gregory, an analyst with the department’s Academic Growth and Analysis Bureau. The PED has not provided the districts with that information in more than a year, but hopes to do so within the next two weeks, she said, adding that even that prediction might be overly optimistic.

“We haven’t been able to provide copy due to various and sundry delays,” Gregory said. “We are overdue. We’re laughably overdue.”

The information falls under the Annual Yearly Progress reports of the No Child Left Behind law.

In some districts, the last reports were published in November 2011. At that time, two years of data were supplied to the districts, and some districts were able to publish the required information in early 2012, which means they are current on statutory requirements.

Rigo Chavez, a spokesman for Albuquerque Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, said APS hasn’t received the Annual Yearly Progress information in two years. Because the publication is a mandate of No Child Left Behind, from which New Mexico has been granted a waiver, Chavez said he was under the impression the publication was no longer required.

Not getting information to publishers will in no way hold up the release of the annual A-F grades for schools, Gregory said. While the information is used in putting together the school grades, it can all be found in “spotty” places on the PED website. “We aggregate it,” Gregory said.

A few contractors defaulted on work they were supposed to do for the PED, resulting in the delays, she said.