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Superintendent's News

Posted: April 8, 2022

Well-Deserved Raises

In his weekly message to employees, Supt. Elder explains how the recently-approved raises for public education employees will work.

The New Mexico Public Education Department sent a memo recently explaining how raises for public school employees will work. I thought it would be helpful to pass on the information.

As you probably know by now, the state Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a budget bill that gives public school employees an average 7 percent raise. They also increased minimum teacher salaries, making them more competitive with neighboring states. And they raised the minimum wage for public school employees to $15 an hour.

I appreciate our lawmakers and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for acknowledging and compensating public school employees who work to improve New Mexico's future by educating and caring for its children. These are demanding jobs, even more so in recent years, and decent wages will help retain and attract good people.

So, here's how the salary increases will work.

There is a two-part rollout. First, APS employees will get a 3 percent salary increase for this year's fourth quarter. That raise will come in a one-time payment scheduled for July 5. The increase is on an employee's base pay, not including stipends or differentials. 

To figure out how much that is for you:

  • Take your yearly base salary
  • Multiply by .03
  • Divide by 4 

For example, for an employee who currently makes $50,000 a year:

  • $50,000 times .03 is $1,500
  • $1,500 divided by 4 is $375 
  • The one-time payment is $375
  • The new base salary for this employee has increased by 3 percent to $51,500 

Then, in the new fiscal year that begins July 1, employees will get an additional 4 percent raise on top of their new base salary. To figure out what this means for you:

  • Take your new base salary     
  • Multiply by 1.04

For example, for that employee who currently makes $50,000 a year:

  • The new base salary is $51,500 
  • $51,500 times 1.04 is $53,560
  • The employee’s salary for the new fiscal year is $53,560

If the pay increase doesn't bring a teacher's salary to the new minimums of $50,000 for level 1, $60,000 for level 2, or $70,000 for level 3, their salary will bump up to the new tier minimum, which would result in a raise greater than 7 percent.

The same goes for anyone who isn't making the $15 minimum wage.

Raises will appear in the employee's first regular paycheck of the new year.  

It's important to note that the APS Board of Education has the final say on the budget, and union negotiations could affect some pay increases. The board is scheduled to approve the final budget on May 25.

I also need to point out that state funding for salary increases can't go towards anything else. Not to keep positions. Not to pay for programs. Not to decrease class sizes.

As happy as I am that our employees are getting well-deserved raises, we are still struggling as a district to right-size schools and departments in the face of a decade of declining enrollment. Please be patient as we work through this complicated process.

In the meantime, know that you have earned a little extra money in your paycheck. Your efforts on behalf of the students of this community are truly appreciated.