ALBUKERK, New Mexico. New Mexico’s largest school district wants to use federal funding to fight the pandemic to prevent layoffs of employees.
Albuquerque’s public schools proposal, released Monday, will channel $ 50 million towards the pandemic to offset the loss of public money associated with declining enrollments.
Superintendent Scott Elder said in a videoconference that the district has lost about 5,000 students and about $ 50 million in government funding.
“One of the main benefits of federal money was that it provided counties with stabilization attempts over the course of a year, without mass layoffs,” Elder said.
If the final budget is passed, this stabilization will account for 25% of the nearly $ 200 million the district will receive in the next and largest round of federal school aid funds.
About 15% of the proposed budget is aimed at helping chronically absent students.
The district also offered to buy more student laptops, upgrade ventilation, and pay off student loans of up to $ 5,250 for district employees.
School funding in New Mexico is based on the number of students enrolled in the previous year. Over the past decade, enrollment has declined by about 1% annually due to population changes. It fell another 4% last year as some families chose homeschooling over distance learning in public schools.
Attanasio is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that directs journalists to local newsrooms to cover hidden issues. Follow Attanasio on Twitter.