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Posted November 8, 2011

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November 2011: APS Displays Dedication to Transparency

This guest column appeared in the Albuquerque Journal.

Transparency means something at Albuquerque Public Schools because we know it’s important to our parents, employees and the community as a whole.

In an effort to continue our tradition of transparency, APS published a list of all employee names, titles, work locations and salaries on our website last Friday. While this sort of public display of information makes some staff members uncomfortable, the fact is it’s public information under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act.

The last session of the state Legislature approved the Sunshine Portal Transparency Act, which will require all public school districts in New Mexico to make available on the state’s “sunshine portal” beginning in July 2012 their ‘checkbooks,’ salary schedules and policies, a listing of all real estate holdings, and a directory of all employee positions by school, title and salary. In the spirit of transparency, APS decided to take this a step further by publishing on our website the names of all our employees.

The district’s budget and salary schedules were already available on aps.edu. We will continue to work so that revenues and expenditures are updated monthly as required by the new law and hope to have this information on our website along with the district’s real estate holdings before they are required next summer to be submitted to the state Public Education Department for the state’s portal.

We want the community to have access to information on their Albuquerque Public Schools, and the 11,500 employees who work for them. A school district, its schools, administrators and teachers are unable to provide world-class instruction to their students without support from the community they serve.

In another effort to respond to the public’s interest in their schools, the APS Board of Education, as well as school administrators and district leaders, have been out this fall asking for community input on  a new set of goals for the district over the next three years. I know, in a broad way, what I want those goals to be—academic excellence, good financial stewardship, and meaningful parent and community engagement. However, we want the public to help us flesh out these goals so that we include elements that are important to this community.

The last in the series of seven of these “Goals Meetings” will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, in the cafeteria at Manzano High School. The public also can provide input by e-mailing the APS Board of Education at boarded@aps.edu. New district goals will be adopted by the board later this fall.

APS Board members and a group of community representatives appointed by the board also have been out gathering input on new board of education voter district boundaries that are required to be redrawn after the 2010 Census.

We will be out again this spring inviting community input on our budget priorities. Just like we did last year, we will provide information about our anticipated revenues and be interested in getting feedback on how we should spend the money received to educate the students of Albuquerque.

We are committed to making APS as transparent as possible to the community we serve in hopes of engaging students, parents, business owners, and the public at large in the work of the Albuquerque Public Schools—preparing students to be world-class citizens.

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