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School board backed by association

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By The Staff

During a Los Alamos Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, board member Joan Ahlers read a letter supporting the local schools’ position on a bill in the legislature that proposes to reform the state’s educational funding formula.With one day remaining in the legislative session, HB241 has yet to be passed by the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate as a whole before going to the governor for approval.Formulas set forth in HB241, as proposed, would reduce state funds to Los Alamos Public Schools by nearly $1.9 million a year. Los Alamos would be one of only three of the 89 districts that would lose money under the formula and by far the largest amount. Other districts would share in a $350-million statewide increase.The letter from Joe Guillen, executive director of the New Mexico School Board Association, said the organization had also understood that there were “hold harmless” provisions intended to make sure that no districts lost funds.“I was somewhat surprised to hear it was not permanent and of course your opposition at the recent legislative hearings,” Guillen wrote.Should the bill pass, he continued, he would urge his organization’s two representatives on the task force charged with implementing the new formula “to work with you and your colleagues in an attempt (to) find a way not to penalize your district in the long run.”A planning year before the formula is put in effect, he added, “will allow for needed adjustments to ensure the funding formula is indeed equitable and fair to all.”In other business, the school board discussed the status of the superintendent search, the schools’ business manager John Wolfe said this morning. Friday will be the deadline for applications. Assistant Superintendent Mary McCleod gave a first presentation on developing the three-year calendar, which will provide the detailed foundation for balancing the instructional requirements within the parameters of the future school years.The board also discussed textbook policy and the status of the Trinity Site project, which is advancing toward a possible joint meeting with the county council in April.