The Ugly Budget, Part III

We are working on a plan that would cut 4 percent from the 2017-18 budget.

A message from the APS Budget Steering Committee

It’s like a recurring nightmare – year after year Albuquerque Public Schools faces a lean budget that requires serious belt tightening – hiring freezes, department and program cuts, larger classrooms, less money for supplies and materials, fewer workers with more responsibility.

It’s hard to remember the last time our employees saw a little extra money in their paychecks. Who can recall the last time we had a little extra funding for training or tokens of appreciation.

Now the belt is on its last notch even as we prepare for fewer dollars and increasing costs. That means cutting into the leather, something we hate to do.

We have no choice.

We’ve already cut $25 million from this year’s budget and are planning on an additional $26 million in cuts next school year, the result of a projected 2 percent cut in state funding, decreased enrollment and rising costs.

We came up with a plan for doing this which was shared with the APS Board of Education on April 4. Unfortunately, because almost all of our operating budget goes to salaries and benefits, this plan would impact employees and students.

While it's important to note that there are still many unknowns and this plan is subject to change, we wanted to give you some idea of what we're considering.

Less Pay for All Employees

  • Reduce the number of work days for teachers, educational assistants and school ancillary staff. Our proposal is to cut professional development/planning days so as not to impact student instructional time. This is something that needs to be negotiated with the unions.
  • Reduce the number of work days for all other employees. For non-school employees, those days would likely occur during the winter break when schools and administrative offices are closed (so employees wouldn't have to use vacation or comp time). Several employees impacted by this proposal are represented by unions, so this also is subject to negotiations.

Our plan would spread the pay reduction across the year in an effort to lessen its impact. Here's how to determine how the reduction could affect you:

  1. Divide your annual salary by the number of days in your contract to determine your daily salary.
  2. Multiply your daily salary by the number of contract days reduced to determine your reduction in pay.
  3. Divide your reduction in pay by 26 to determine your gross reduction per paycheck.

For example, administrators who make $50,000 a year would see their paycheck decrease by about $30 if the district cut their contract days by four. 

Department Cuts

This is the third time in a year that we’ve asked departments to cut their budgets, this time by another 10 percent. Because many of those budgets have been cut to the bone, this could very well mean that some employees will be reassigned, see additional reductions in pay or face layoffs.

Increased Class Sizes

Increasing average class sizes above what is required by state law needs to be agreed to in union negotiations and approved by the state.

High School Schedule Change

We have proposed going back to a high school schedule that requires teaching 6 out of 7 classes. High school teachers now teach 5 of 7 classes with one off period for planning and the second for collaboration. They would likely lose that collaboration period.

Other Possible Cost Saving Measures Include:

  • Reorganizing gifted education programs
  • Reorganizing school computer technicians
  • Cutting middle school athletics
  • Decreasing allocations for athletic and activities directors
  • Reducing school budgets and discretionary funds
  • Reducing teacher differential
  • Reducing athletic and activity differentials
  • Seeking another funding source for teacher mentorship programs

As always, we welcome your input. You can send questions and comments to