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Education

State Report Says Albuquerque District Should Shutter Schools, Cut Jobs

APS Super Scott Elder
Kevin Meerschaert
/
KSFR-FM
APS Superintendent Scott Elder (front row, center) and district Chief Financial Officer Tami Coleman (right) read along as LFC Evaluators Catherine Dry and Clayton Lobaugh present their findings to the committee

A report by the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee says Albuquerque Public Schools needs to make changes to address falling enrollment and low student outcomes.

The evaluation by the LFC staff is part of an ongoing process that has state officials monitoring districts around New Mexico.

The Committee was presented the results of the APS report on Wednesday.  

The recommendations include adjusting the size of the workforce due to lower enrollment numbers, expanding Extended Learning Time Programs for elementary school students, and additional incentives to place hard to staff positions.

APS Superintendent Scott Elder welcomed the conversation and suggestions, but says the move toward rightsizing by closing schools with lower enrollment would be difficult. 

“There’s conversations that need to be had but we need to understand it’s not a simple numerical calculation,” he said. “Schools are a vibrant part of their community and they exist inside their community and the community relies on it for more than just educating the kids. We provide food, we provide shelter, we provide health services and that’s important to remember as well.”        

APS is home to about one-quarter of all the public school students in the state. It also accounts for about one-fourth of New Mexico’s public education budget.