School district looks over funding snafu

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By Tris DeRoma

The Associated Press is reporting that New Mexico’s Public Education Department made a clerical error that added S218,076.73 in extra funding to the Los Alamos Public School District’s “at-risk” students fund.
Each year, the PED gives schools a certain amount of funding to aid the district’s “at-risk” students. The funding amount is supposed to be based on the number of students the district has at that time. At-risk students are considered to be students who don’t attend school regularly, cannot speak English, or are considered living below poverty level.
In the article, the PED is said to have made an alphabetical error in its annual list, due to where they placed West Las Vegas. This resulted in Los Alamos as one of the districts that received more funding than it should and others to have received less than they should, according to the article.
As of press time, school officials were still going over the numbers, and were trying to contact analysts at the PED. Even though the AP story also mentioned that school systems that received extra money can keep it, LAPS’ financial officer John Wolfe had some questions to ask the PED about the mistake. Even though the numbers in the article showed that Los Alamos should have received $218,076.73 less than it should have, Wolfe believed that figure is questionable.
“I printed out the listings that shows the at-risk factor for Los Alamos, and if you follow the logic our at-risk factor should have increased, but there’s an article this morning that shows something contrary to that. It shows that Los Alamos was overfunded,” Wolfe said. “I don’t follow that logic at all, because if you take West Las Vegas out mix and moved everybody up, our at-risk factor should have increased, not decreased.”