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Posted February 16, 2010

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Legislative Affairs Update: February 15, 2010

Budget passed by Senate on Sunday morning.

The New Mexico State Senate passed its budget in the very early Sunday morning.  The bill is problematic for APS because it seeks cuts of more than $94 million from public education appropriations. That would have a major impact to APS, with a cut of more than $35 million.

During the 2009 Special Session of the Legislature the district was cut 2 percent or $12.2 million. n addition the Superintendent has cut nearly $15 million from various parts of the district, but mostly from administration. This brings total APS budget cuts over the past two years to about $27 million in the district. Any additional cuts from the legislature would have a major impact on the classroom.

We have worked hard over the weekend to keep an increase of the employee contribution to the Educational Retirement Board off of the table. There were several versions of the bill that would have increased contributions from 1 to 13 percent. We have been opposed to this, because this is a direct cut in pay to APS employees. In addition, there was an increase in contribution from the last legislative session of 1.5 percent.  Right now this bill is not moving forward, but we want to make sure that the Legislature does not bring it back up in its discussions about solvency of the retirement fund.

Now the Senate will send its version of the budget over to the House where they are expected to reject it. The process then dictates that the House and Senate will appoint members to go to conference committee. There discussions and difficult negotiations will take place. We will continue to update you on the budget as our full attention is on ensuring that our schools are adequately funded so that students, teachers and staff can do the job they need to do in the classroom.

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