- 87,000 students.
- 15,463 employees.
- 142 schools.
- 0 in-house attorneys.
The result: Over the first 10 months of 2015, APS paid nearly $1.7 million to contract law firms and attorneys, with most of that going to the Modrall Sperling Law Firm, the district’s longtime chief provider of legal services. It paid $2.2 million in 2014 for legal services and $2.3 million in 2013, according to figures provided by the district.
The school district, with an annual operating budget of $687.6 million, is the largest political subdivision of the state without a lawyer on staff. Bernalillo County, with a yearly operating budget of $286.4 million, has seven in-house attorneys. The city of Albuquerque, with a budget of $915.3 million, has 30.
Creating and maintaining a staff of in-house lawyers would cost APS money, and the district would probably still need some outside counsel. Still, former Board of Education President Marty Esquivel, a lawyer, estimates the district could save at least $500,000 a year by hiring staff attorneys.