ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools wants the state to stop building more charter schools but at Wednesday night’s school board meeting, there was plenty of pushback on the idea. Almost four hours into APS’ school board meeting, board members decided to not consider the idea at that board meeting. Before that, nearly two dozen students, parents, and teachers made it clear they don’t want a moratorium on new charter schools.

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“Most charters serve predominately low-income and at-risk students,” said one man who spoke out in opposition to the proposal. “They drive innovation and they offer different learning environments for children and families.”

APS argues in a resolution that schools are already facing financial hardships and any more schools could be a burden. In New Mexico, school funding is based on student enrollment. APS said over the last few years, there’s been a sharp decline in birth rates so they expect enrollment to continue to drop.

However, after public comment and much discussion, the board decided they’ll table the idea for now. “I just think we need to have a dialogue,” said a school board member. “Get away from the contentious deliberation and help us figure out what is the conversation we need to have.”

Statewide there is roughly a four percent drop in enrollment. Analysts said many students transferred out of public schools because of the pandemic and homeschooling saw a big increase. If APS board members revisit this issue, they’ll decide whether to send the idea to state lawmakers to discuss during the legislative session.