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APS Board Approves $928 Million Operating Budget

Posted May 24, 2023, 7:55 PM. Updated August 23, 2023, 2:15 PM.

Spending plan includes raises for employees, additional instructional time.

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education has approved a $928.3 million operational fund budget for the district that covers $40.2 million in raises for employees, $25,000 minimum salaries for educational assistants, additional instructional time for all students, and other priorities.

The budget, which was approved unanimously on Wednesday night, is for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. The spending plan now goes to the State Public Education Department for consideration.

The operational budget is nearly $107 million higher than this year’s adjusted budget, but much of the spending increase was driven by legislation approved by state officials earlier this year. That includes 6% raises for all employees, the minimum salaries for educational assistants, and additional instructional time.

The operational budget forecasts $923.8 million in revenues for the year, which is $4.5 million less than the amount the district is planning to spend. Budget officials say the deficit is due to the $25,000 minimum salaries for licensed educational assistants. The state allocated $3.4 million to APS to bring educational assistants up to that minimum, but the mandate will actually cost the district $8.3 million. APS budget officials say the deficit could be covered with vacancy savings, additional state funding, and reserves.

Even if tapping into reserves is necessary, APS expects to maintain $61.4 million in reserves.

As part of this year’s budget process, school leaders and departments were asked to explain how their funding requests factored into the four goals the board set earlier this year. Those goals are boosting reading and math proficiency rates, improving post-secondary readiness, and ensuring that students have the skills, mindsets, and habits they will need to be successful in life.

“This budget takes a big step forward in aligning our work, our resources, our people to the board goals, honoring and supporting the APS strategic plan, also the guardrails and most importantly student outcomes,” APS Chief Financial Officer Rennette Apodaca told board members.

The budget APS is submitting to the state totals nearly $2.16 billion. That includes the $928.3 million operational fund, $537.5 million in capital funds, $304.7 million in federal grants, $191 million in debt service funds, and other funding for such things as school meals, busing of students, and instructional materials.