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Posted: January 19, 2018

A Promise is a Promise

APS has worked to keep budget cuts away from students and learning, Supt. Reedy writes in her weekly message.

A promise is a promise.

I have been committed since the day I took this job to making sure our classrooms and our schools are adequately funded. That hasn’t been easy. As you know, the past decade has been tough on public education. Last year alone, we ended up cutting tens of millions of dollars from the district’s operational budget – including a $12 million cut in the middle of the school year!

Still, we did everything we could to keep budget cuts away from students and learning. That meant a lot of changes at the administrative level. It meant some personal sacrifice – district administrators took a pay cut during the first half of this school year, for instance. The leadership team also took a day without pay. And we eliminated dozens of positions, resulting in a handful of layoffs.

It also meant some serious belt-tightening for departments, which slashed their budgets not once but twice by more than 10 percent last year. All this has resulted in a leaner, meaner administration that’s working just as hard as ever to support our schools.

But don’t take my word for it.  A study by the New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders and the New Mexico School Superintendents Association took a look at how much each of the state’s 89 school districts spends on central administration.

It found that only two districts in the state spend less on central administration than Albuquerque Public Schools. On average, the study found that school districts in New Mexico spend about 2.2 percent of their budget on central administration. APS spends less than 1 percent!

Of course, we are the largest school district in the state by far, and that has definite economic advantages. But we’ve also worked very hard to get here.  

And the work continues. We’ve already started budgeting for the 2018-19 school year with a renewed commitment to putting as many resources as possible into our schools.

Last year around this time, our Communications Office prepared an animated video to help explain the complexities and challenges of developing a budget. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch it (or watch it again). It will help you understand the process we’ll be going through over the next few months.

And, as always, I’ll stay in touch.