Board decides best way to refund state

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Education > Concerns mount there may be other funding errors

By Tris DeRoma

Pay it all off at once, or do it one payment at a time. That was the choice given to the Los Alamos Board of Education this week in reference to a miscalculation made by New Mexico’s Public Education Department.

Earlier this year, the PED inadvertently paid LAPS $218,000 more than it should have for its at-risk student program. At first, the PED said districts that it overpaid could keep the money, but after some lengthy consultations with its legal experts, the district is going to have to pay the money back.

“I’m looking for direction as to how we do that,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt said to the board. “One possibility that Dr. Honnell brought up was to pay it all back at once, and we could do that.”

Schmidt said the other option would be to pay it out in $18,000-a-month payments over the next year.

“It’s really about the value of the money,” Schmidt said. “What is that $200,000 worth, subtracting $18,000 a month over the next 11 months? If that represents a cost savings of under $80, we might as well just pay it off....the board has to decide what the value of the money is.”

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