ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools employees may not be getting appreciation bonuses promised to them. However, APS Superintendent Scott Elder says hope is not completely lost.

Last week, the district said full-time employees would get $1,000 checks while part-time employees would get a $500 check. Elder said in a video message, that the state Auditors Office raised concerns that this violated the state constitution. Edler points out a provision that doesn’t allow public employees to have their contracts adjusted and receive payment for work already completed.

Elder says the money may not arrive by June 25 as expected, but says they are working with the state auditor and others on a plan to pay employees for the COVID-related work in the future.

Read the full statement below:

APS employees, I am your Superintendent Scott Elder. I have some extremely difficult news to share and I ask that you not lose faith. 

Last week, I announced that APS would use federal stimulus funds to give employees a one-time extra payment for COVID-related work. I was very disheartened to learn that the New Mexico State Auditor’s Office raised concerns that our proposed efforts to compensate you violated the New Mexico State Constitution, and more specifically, the anti-donation clause. 

This provision of the state constitution doesn’t allow public employees, like those working for APS, to have their contracts adjusted and receive payment for work already completed.

We continue to work on this problem and to look for federal guidance that may assist. However, I just don’t want you to plan for money that may not arrive on June 25th. 

I’ve had people ask me to wait until we had more clarity, but I didn’t feel I could wait as the money may not arrive on the expected date. 

I know this is a disappointment. I know we’ve asked a lot of you over the past year. And I know this announcement may cause some inconvenience and for this, I am truly sorry.

The good news is that we’re working with the State Auditor, the State Secretary of Education, our APS unions and bargaining units, and the APS Board of Education on a plan to pay you for the extra COVID-related work that we know lies ahead. We have plenty to do in the coming months to address unfinished learning while abiding by COVID safe practices to fully open schools next year.

We are still looking for a way to get you additional pay for the time and effort we know the pandemic will require of you in the coming school year. I’m always going to fight for you. I’m sorry this didn’t work out exactly as planned. But with this new timeline, we will get it right. Thank you.

APS Superintendent Scott Elder