ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With an influx of new oil revenue, lawmakers will be back for a 30-day budget-focused session in just a few months. Now facing increased costs, Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) said they are going to ask for money in areas they’ve usually leaned on local tax dollars for.
While focused on reducing class sizes again, the district is also looking for funding to wrap up past-due construction projects.
“There’s a group of projects that are ready to actually go to bid for construction, and part of the problem is construction costs have doubled,” said Dr. Joseph Escobedo, senior director for the Office of Innovation and School Choice.
Labor and material cost increases have the district, putting more than a dozen capital construction projects on hold.
“The request is, really, looking at projects that are ready to be built, but our funding has run out,” Escobedo explained.
Out of 20 projects approved by voters in the last bond cycle, the district said they’ve only finished seven with the money they have. One of the delayed projects is the Taylor Middle School classroom building, which needs another $11 million to finish.
District representatives stated they don’t have a specific amount they would like to receive, but any amount would help.
On smaller class sizes, the district claimed it would help increase student engagement, but they acknowledge that reduced numbers would be difficult to implement.
“It is a difficult request to look at class sizes because it’s not only the teachers that we need, but we also need more space,” Escobedo added.
Another priority for APS is a replacement of the district’s internal timecard system that tracks payroll and leave. That would cost around $25 million.
The district’s priorities will go before the legislature during the next session.