Albuquerque Public Schools asks for public to weigh in on next year’s budget

APS asks for public to weigh in on next year's budget

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools wants to give you a sneak peak at next year’s budget, and they want your take. They’re holding a series of public meetings to find out what you deem are the district’s top priorities.

The largest school district in the state is expected to spend around $650 million this fiscal year. That’s the same as their 2010 expenditures and the most they’ve seen since 2009. However, there are 1,200 fewer students enrolled this year than in 2010.

That $650 million figure is close to $30 million more than last year. However, while APS was more than $5 million in the black in 2014, they’re facing a shortfall of $6.4 million this fiscal year.

APS laid out a number of new budget priorities in fiscal year 2015- $7.6 million worth.

When you break it down, nearly $1.5 million went toward investments and new initiatives, like the K through 8th Academy and the Office of Innovation. Another $3.5 million was set aside for unfunded mandates to support more requirements from the public education department, like testing coordinators for schools. And $2.2 million went toward post-recession recovery and a half a million is set to go towards compensation, including a tier increase for teachers.

That being said, the budgeted costs exceeded income by nearly $5.5 million. APS used over a million dollars in cash reserves at the beginning of the year, putting their shortfall at $6.4 million.

APS says that shortfall will come out of any new revenues next year unless they can manage their spending this fiscal year.

When it comes to next year’s budget, APS estimates $83 million in new state funding. That’s an increase of about $9 million to APS.

Nevertheless, the district still foresees a shortfall next year, and if that $6.4 million doesn’t change, it could be a more than $24 million deficiency.

So, where did all that money go?

Part of the shortfall has to do with lower enrollment. The district is also paying more for utilities, health care and teacher salaries, to name a few.

The community meetings will start out with an overview of APS’ current $690 million operational budget. From there, they’ll take a look at projections for next year, based on the state budget.

The legislature is still in discussion about that so, those numbers could change.

The first meeting is Tuesday in the John Milne Community Board Room at the Alice and Bruce King Educational Comple, 6400 Uptown Blvd. NE. The second meeting is on the 19th at Tony Hillerman Mid-School located at 8101 Rainbow Blvd. NW. Both meetings are from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The district is also accepting input online via email.

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