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Santa Fe school board approves $260M operating budget

May 23, 2019

The Santa Fe school board on Tuesday voted 4-0 to approve a $260 million operating budget for 2019-20 that includes money for new summer programs and pay raises.

The budget provides nearly $6 million from the state for K-5 Plus, which adds 25 summer days to the beginning of the school year, and an extended learning program that adds 10 days anywhere in the school calendar. The programs are intended to help public schools boost student achievement.

Superintendent Veronica García said K-5 Plus will be implemented for seven days in July and 18 in August at 11 school sites: Amy Biehl Community School, César Chávez Elementary School, Chaparral Elementary School, E.J. Martinez Elementary School, El Camino Real Academy, Gonzales Community School, Nava Elementary School, Nina Otero Community School, Ramirez Thomas Elementary School, Salazar Elementary School and Sweeney Elementary School. In total, the district received $2.3 million from the state to serve 1,345 students in K-5 Plus.

The district received $3.6 million, García said, to implement extended learning at all but the following six schools: Nye Early Childhood Center, Salazar Elementary, Chaparral Elementary, the Academy at Larragoite, Amy Biehl Community School and E.J. Martinez Elementary. At high schools, extended learning will provide a jump-start program at the beginning of the year, while other schools will add learning time to the end of the calendar.

Both programs are voluntary for students and teachers.

“We wanted these programs at all of our schools,” García said. “At some schools, we either couldn’t get the kids or we couldn’t get the teacher.”

Through the State Equalization Guarantee, a formula the state government uses to determine funding for public schools based on student numbers, the district says it will receive an additional $7.1 million for the upcoming year. District officials estimate $7.095 million of the increase will go toward state-mandated raises and related expenses.

Board President Kate Noble was absent from the meeting with an illness. The budget still must be approved by the New Mexico Public Education Department.

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