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Major Considerations for Deconsolidation of APS

Academics

Programs and Services

Please note that none of the special programs and services listed below receive additional funding from the state of New Mexico for their operations and success. APS is able to offer these programs due to leveraging economies of scale to provide more unique programs for our students.

Alternative Schools: APS offers schools of choice to provide academic opportunities for those students who may not excel in the traditional school environment. Students not living in the geographical district of their current school of choice may no longer be eligible to attend that school due to the Open Enrollment Act prioritization. This could be particularly troubling for our students who would have no immediate opportunities in their new district and could, therefore, have difficulty graduating from high school. Specific examples include eCADEMY, New Futures, Freedom.

Magnet Schools: APS has a plan for offering more magnet schools that focus on special areas of interest for families and students in at their neighborhood school. Magnet schools also have district-wide open enrollment.

Special Education Services: APS hubs services for students with special needs. APS is able to provide services that exceed the per-student funding for students with special needs leveraging its full operational funding for all students:

  • Autism: APS has a state of the art Autism Center located at Highland High School for students diagnosed with Autism and in need of specialized services that do not exist at traditional schools. Students not living in the new district that geographically houses the Autism Center would no longer be able to avail themselves of those services.
  • Intensive Support Programs: APS has invested millions of dollars in facilities that specialize in housing students who are the most vulnerable due to their medically fragile status. APS also invests operational dollars far and above those received from the State of New Mexico in supporting these student’s needs.
  • Emotionally Disturbed Students: APS provides services to these students that are second to none, not even in-patient treatment services. We care about ensuring these students are appropriately educated and nourished so they may be functioning members of society.
  • 3 & 4-Year-Old Programs: APS understands and appreciates its responsibility to provide services to students with disabilities as early as possible and does so through our 3 & 4-year-old programs across the city.

Highest Needs Students Are Welcome in APS: APS serves 54% of the highest need (D level) special education students. These students often need more than one adult to care for them throughout the school day and specialized programming to meet their educational needs. APS is able to pool its operational dollars to ensure the needs of these students are addressed.

Bilingual/Dual Language Services: As part of the APS Academic Master Plan, we have committed to creating pathways throughout our city so students may have access to bilingual programs from elementary school through graduation. Teachers who are qualified to teach bilingual programs are a scarce resource, but APS will be able to leverage the city’s population to find the number of teachers we need to build a robust bilingual program.

Parent Choice

Open Enrollment and Student Transfers: More than 14,000 students attend schools on a student transfer, meaning they exercise choice within APS to attend a school other than their neighborhood school. Students living in other districts are prioritized last in the Open Enrollment Act potentially meaning students who would like to continue to attend a school in a different district than the one he/she is living in would be less likely to have the opportunity to attend that school.

Charter Schools: APS takes its responsibility as a local authorizer of charter schools seriously and enters into a partnership with each of its charter schools. This relationship successfully builds new school buildings for charters (APS is the only district in NM that has done this) and provides support for special education, finances, food services and transportation for locally authorized schools. New APS districts may not be able to provide such services on such a large scale, or may not be willing to continue the relationships APS has built.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Activities

Middle Schools: APS is able to leverage our dollars to collectively plan for middle school activities and sports and hold competitions between our schools. Early introduction of competitive activities instills a sense of school pride in our students and engages them in the school community through some of their most at-risk years.

High Schools: APS offers a state-of-the-art selection of activities to participate in in high school.

Stadiums: APS students compete at three stadiums in Albuquerque because we invest our capital dollars into classrooms rather than stadiums at every high school. Ownership of these stadiums and scheduling cross-district activities is one of many unintended consequences new districts would have to grapple with.

Unification through Diversity

Albuquerque Public Schools unifies our city and gives our community something to believe in: APS graduates are proud of their schools and are proud to be graduates of APS. APS is one of the only institutions in our city that cuts across every single sector, every income bracket, every ethnicity and race, every family dynamic and every belief system. We can unify our city, tackle our problems together, and use APS as the institution of hope for our families.

Leveraging Diverse populations increases student achievement: Social composition of the student body is more highly related to achievement, independent of the student’s own social background, than is any school factor. APS celebrates diversity to prepare students for a multicultural world.

Ethnic Studies: APS has listened to the community in its desire to ensure academic content is relevant to all our students and their histories. APS is introducing ethnic studies as a course available to all high school students so we may learn from each other’s past and come together to map our future.

Title I

Eligibility for Title I Schools: APS groups together schools across the city in ways that maximize our eligibility for Title I dollars. These groupings would be disrupted if new districts were created and fewer schools may be eligible for Title I dollars in the future. To name a few examples, Title I funds critical positions for our students, such as reading interventionists, and after-school programs which help ensure students have a safe place to go before their parents return home.

Finance & Operations

Facilities Construction & the Master Plan

Deconsolidating APS breaks up the ABQ tax base: APS voters have generously approved mill levies and G.O. Bonds for new construction and maintenance of our public schools. This tax base is critical to ensuring our students have state of the art facilities. There is a proven correlation between facilities and student achievement. Each neighborhood of the city has different capacity to levy and collect taxes for capital projects when compared to the facility needs in their districts. In addition, any new district would be required to assume the capital debt applicable to their district.  There is no deconsolidation district that would not have to increase its property taxes in order to cover the existing capital debt and M&O expenses much less any new school buildings. Bond ratings would suffer. The existing capital master plan leverages property taxes across the city over a rolling 5-year plan to cover additional capital requirements and the existing capital debt.

By current cluster:

School Cluster

% of District Enrollment

% of Tax Base

Total Assessed Capital Needs

Albuquerque

6%

9%

$366.1 M

AHA

11%

3%

$78.5 M

Cibola

8%

8%

$144.7 M

Del Norte

6%

9%

$264.6 M

Eldorado

6%

9%

$182.8 M

Highland

10%

7%

$303.8 M

La Cueva

6%

13%

$105.0 M

Manzano

7%

9%

$394.3 M

Rio Grande

11%

5%

$286.4 M

Sandia

5%

6%

$332.2 M

Valley

5%

9%

$278.4 M

Volcano Vista

8%

6%

$68.0 M

West Mesa

9%

7%

$284.1 M

Maintenance and Operations

84,500 Work Orders Completed Annually: APS schools submit orders for work to be completed in schools, which is channeled internally for completion by M&O workers.

15 Million Square Feet of Facilities: APS maintains the greatest square feet of any mid-region governmental entity in the State of New Mexico. We are able to leverage mill levy funding to maintain these square feet and use in-house personnel to complete maintenance operations. APS saves taxpayer dollars by paying competitive rates so it can provide first-class facilities without paying contractors for work completed in APS schools.

Transportation

42,000 Students Transported Safely Every Day: APS operates the largest transportation system in the State and successfully maintains 530 buses.

Tax Payer Savings

Duplicative Services: School Board, Superintendent, Administrative functions like Human Resources, Finances, Technology, etc. would be duplicated if there were new districts created.

Economies of Scale for Purchasing

Community

Equity

Zambrano Agreement: APS entered into a negotiated agreement with the Us Department of Education to require APS provide equitable educational services in the South Valley. If districts were to be broken up, the Zambrano Agreement would no longer be in effect.

Shared wealth ensures services can be directed where they are needed: APS students all generate different money from the NM funding formula based on their individual characteristics. APS is able to pool those resources together to direct dollars to the areas of the greatest need. The same is true with capital needs. Albuquerque citizens understand that the greatest need should be addressed first and pools together its local tax dollars to support all APS schools, not just their neighborhood school.

Department of Justice: Across the county, deconsolidation has been considered in numerous large urban districts. Each time a state chooses to make districts smaller, the US Department of Justice maintains a close eye on the process to ensure there are not pockets of poverty created with new school boundaries. APS fears that these pockets would be created here and would argue that we must prop up our entire community through our schools, not just those that have historical access to success.

Engagement

School-Based Engagement: Each individual principal is charged with engaging her/his own community through thoughtful conversations with their families and partners. APS continues to work to build capacity of our local leaders to invite their community into the school doors.

Community Schools: The APS Board of Education and administration has made a strong commitment to growing community schools through the ABC School Community Partnership, an organization sponsored by the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and APS.

Equity Council: APS has instituted the Equity Council, a group of stakeholders who advise APS on ways we can ensure equity in our schools through partnerships with the community.

Economics

APS is approximately 75% of the Construction Industry in ABQ: APS contributes more than $10 million per month to the local construction sector. Breaking up the tax base that pays for this construction could negatively affect the ability of new districts to build, renovate and maintain buildings.

Economic Development: Certain neighborhoods and school districts attract businesses and spur economic development in regions of the city. Rather than looking to deconsolidate, economic development strategy should focus on lifting schools up and revitalizing schools to attract businesses to areas of the City. APS does drive industry in the ABQ.

Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative: APS is participating in the Healthy School Initiative, a movement with the City of Albuquerque to jumpstart economic development in our community again.
Safety

Safety

Specialized Policy Officers Trained in the Needs of Students, Working Actively to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline: APS works every single day to break the school-to-prison pipeline through police officers who are specifically trained to work with students. These officers are part of the school community and work with administration and teachers to build positive relationships between police, students and families.

Site Safety Plans: APS offers unique support in creating site safety plans that protect students and staff if the unthinkable should occur on campus. Our first priority is to make sure students return home in the same or better condition than when they come to school in the morning.

Restorative Justice: APS has trained 41 schools in the practices of restorative justice, has prohibited out-of-school suspension for truancy and is actively working to instill principles of restorative justice in our schools.

Stability

New School Boundaries Drawn: Deconsolidation of APS would almost definitely require the new districts draw new school boundaries meaning families may be forced to send their children to new schools after deconsolidation occurs.

Human Capital

Employment

APS employs 14,000 people: Should new districts be created, those individuals would no longer have an employer and would have to plan for hiring by the new districts or be out of employment altogether.

Salaries & Benefits

APS offers the most comprehensive and best-valued benefits plan to public school employees in NM: If APS would be deconsolidated, all the districts would be absorbed into the New Mexico Public School Insurance Authority.

  • Under $30,000 Single Premiums: APS employee making less than $30,000 currently pays $93 per month for a single health insurance policy with Presbyterian. Under NMPSIA, that employee would pay, on average, $174 per month - $81 more per month. 
  • Over $30,000 Single Premiums: APS employee making more than $30,000 currently pays $182 per month for a single health insurance policy with Presbyterian. Under NMPSIA, that employee would pay, on average, $232 per month - $50 more per month. 
  • Under $30,000 Family Premiums: APS employee making less than $30,000 currently pays $252 per month for a family health insurance policy with Presbyterian. Under NMPSIA, that employee would pay, on average, $488 per month - $236 more per month.
  • Over $30,000 Family Premiums: APS employee making more than $30,000 currently pays $492 per month for a family health insurance policy with Presbyterian. Under NMPSIA, that employee would pay, on average, $651 per month - $159 more per month. 
  • Health Plan Benefits: APS health plan benefits are far richer than NMPSIA. APS employees experience, on average, a $25 copay to see their family doctor, a single $250 deductible and an out-of-pocket maximum of $2250. NMPSIA employees experience, on average, a $20 copay, a single $300 deductible and an out-of-pocket maximum of $2800.

APS pays working families $500 million in salaries every year: APS is the largest employer in the city.

Statewide Impact

Public School Capital Outlay Funding

Limited State Dollars for School Capital Projects will be Diluted with new APS Districts: Rather than APS leveraging its current tax base to address needs of schools within the current district, new districts would not have the tax base necessary to pay for the construction needs in the district. This would increase the liability of the State of NM to address these facility needs in ABQ, making less money available to other districts in the state.

Consolidation of Benefits costs the state more: An independent actuary study completed in 2008 and confirmed by an LFC study in 2013 determined that consolidating APS with the rest of NMPSIA would cost the state more money, not save it. 

News
Student of the Week Estevan Garcia
5th grader at Lew Wallace Elementary School. Week of Sept. 17, 2018
Once Again, We Celebrate Our Students of the Week
Sponsored by Nusenda Credit Union and the APS Education Foundation for the eighth straight year
Supt. Encourages Nominations for Hall of Honor
"Let us honor our educators," APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy writes in her weekly message to employees.
National Hispanic Heritage Month: Sept. 15-Oct. 15
2019 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists
Congratulations to the APS students who earned this distinguished honor.