Time for APS Board to Get Real (and get transparent)

I could not help but laugh when I read this article in the Albuquerque Journal that included a lot of bellyaching from APS board members over Gov. Martinez’s “State of the State” speech and reform proposals.

Robert Lucero called the Governor “disingenuous” for attacking the APS bureaucracy. Well, if APS wants to show that they DO NOT have a bloated bureaucracy, why don’t they start by publishing salary information for all district employees (including teachers) on the Internet? While they’re at it, they could add vendor transactions as well. We requested this information in an electronic format for our “newmexicospending.com” site and APS basically told us to “go to $%*&” (even though this is supposed to be public information).

So, without the public having adequate information (thanks to APS), the situation is reduced to a “he said, she said” situation. Of course, the Governor has been in office for a few weeks, so she is not the problem. The problem is APS which has failed year after year.

Sen. Fishcmann has introduced legislation demanding that electronic records be made available upon request, but ultimately we need to have school district data added to the Sunshine Portal.

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9 Replies to “Time for APS Board to Get Real (and get transparent)”

  1. Problem with cutting overhead in a public institution is they always cut “worker bees”. We need transparency for all aspects of Government and I think APS is part of that robust body of individuals. If they would spend as much time working on “education” as they spend of making sure the kids get a balanced diet, we might make some progress. We have been throwing money after money at the education process for years and keep getting the same results. Meanwhile the higher ups and lobby task force eat prime rib in Santa Fe for 30-60+ days plus every year chasing more bucks.

  2. I refuse to believe that a school district that employs double-dipping custodians has run out of places to cut. A few months ago I emailed Robert Lucero, who unfortunately represents my district, asking about the ratio between classroom and support employees at APS, and how employee headcount has tracked with student enrollment. I got no response. I believe state-imposed audits will be necessary to bring transparency to school finances.

  3. APS isn’t the only district that needs some major shake down when it comes to top heavy spending. Clovis Municipal Schools has a Central Office with positions that, in 2010, accounted for over 1.5 million in salaries (according to nmspending.com). For example, somehow a raise in 2010 from almost $74,000 to nearly $93,000 because of a change in title (Director to Executive Director) just doesn’t compute, especially when our teachers haven’t had a raise in three years. How dare APS not share salary info on public employees! I hope our new governor has the fortitude to follow through with true reform.

  4. The APS board members made me laugh too. Tiredly and cynically, but still a laugh. I really shook my head at the part where they said they wanted to close the charter schools because those schools are just siphoning away money.

    Ummm, yeah. Nothing about increasing services to handle those students. Trust APS to use a budget crunch to try killing off those interlopers.

    Seems to me that the law needs to be tweaked a little bit so that a charter school MUST receive a charter and remain chartered unless the charter school fails to meet openly published requirements. APS can define those requirements but can’t be trusted to be reasonable unless forced to be. To keep APS in line, the requirements can be challenged in court.

    A challenger would only need to show that APS fails to meet its own requirements. If the challenger wins then APS has to pay all the costs and fees that the challenger incurred plus any other damages from the unreasonably strict requirements. Those damages specifically include any losses a school suffers by losing its charter or by not receiving one.

  5. Sadly, any information we have requested from APS Board Members and administrators has been met with great hostillity.
    The only time we obtained any specific information regarding how APS has spent money at a school was when our State Senator and Representative got involved and had the NM Department of Education investigate them.

  6. If APS is anything like the Clovis Municipal Schools, the salary system does not reward talented experienced staff. Instead of what you know (experience); they base their Salary on” Who You Know” (relatives). My sister has been working for the school district for over 13 years and is paid at 4 years less than her experience level. However, if someone is related to someone who held, or is holding, a prominent position in CMS, they are paid much more. It doesn’t matter how much experience they have, the corrupt administration will find a way to underpay the regular workers and reward their own. If Auditors would look at experience level, years with the NMPED system, and additional formal education, they would see the discrepancy. Then if they took the names of the overpaid employees and researched who they were related to (past and present) they would see the corruption. My sister loves the job she is doing but hates the corruption she sees in administration.

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