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Education

  • LAPS make the grade

    Governor Susana Martinez announced the release of the first official school grades under New Mexico’s new School Grading System Monday. This announcement marks the first time the state has utilized a school accountability system created specifically for the students of New Mexico.

    Over 830 elementary, middle and high schools were measured in several areas of student achievement. As opposed to basing the system on a single test score, these school grades are calculated using at least three years’ worth of data whenever possible in areas such as academic growth, attendance, support of both the highest and lowest performing students, and college and career readiness.

  • District pay raise vote lacked transparency

    The Los Alamos Public School District Board of Education may have violated the state’s Open Meetings Act when it voted for employee pay raises during a special meeting last month.

    The public notice of the board’s May 24 special meeting had no mention of pay raises for certified and non-certified negotiated school employees nor did the agenda presented before the meeting.

    But despite the lack of public notice that the board would formally take up the issues of employee pay raises, and also that question being asked of the board by Board President Kevin Honnell and the Los Alamos Monitor, the board voted in favor of a 3-percent pay raise.

  • No date set for LAMS contractor state hearing

    The company awarded the contract for the Los Alamos Middle School construction project will have to appear at a formal hearing before the state Taxation and Revenue Department.

    The hearing will determine whether or not the company’s in-state preference certification was justly received. A date for the hearing has not been set.

    That’s the latest the in an ongoing investigation into whether McCarthy Building Companies received the certification from the department in error.

  • School board mulls new Bus Loop plan

    The Los Alamos Public School Board of Directors considered a new bus loop proposal Thursday evening after several other proposals had been rejected throughout the last year – but the proposal, which will be voted on at the July school board meeting, may come too late as there’s little time to undertake the project before the start on the new school year Aug. 13.

    Superintendent Gene Schmidt said it’s the third such attempt to reach a happy medium.

    In May, the board rejected what was thought to be a final plan stating there were too many uncertainties with the proposal. The board also rejected a bus loop proposal last year.

  • LAMS contractor certification comes under state scrutiny

    The state Taxation and Revenue Department now believes McCarthy Building Companies — which was awarded in-state preference certification by the state — is actually not eligible for the perk and is seeking to revoke its status.

    “The Department is taking the necessary steps, in accordance with New Mexico law, to issue a notice of contemplated action to remove this designation so that the preference cannot be applied to its bids for public projects,” Department Spokesman S.U. Mahesh said in a recent email.

  • LAPS board hammers out Schmidt's new contract

    Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt’s new two-year contract begins July 1, but before it goes into effect, the Board of Education is hoping to hammer out one fine detail.

    The board initially awarded Schmidt the contract back in January.

    School Board member Melanie McKinley said the board recently returned from a school law conference in Albuquerque where she learned that new requirements regarding Title IX federal funding would be enforced this year.

    That includes a new requirement that figures-based data regarding the New Mexico Schools Athletics Equity Act be posted online Oct. 31 if the district fails to be in compliance with the law.

  • Board OKs LAMS project

    Despite a protest from contractor Bradbury Stamm regarding the process that ultimately resulted in a construction contract being awarded to McCarthy, the Los Alamos Public School District is moving ahead with the work at Los Alamos Middle School.

    “Looks like the light has turned from yellow to green over the last few days,” school board president Kevin Honnell said.

    Albuquerque-based Bradbury Stamm, which lost out to McCarthy in the district bidding process, is protesting that McCarthy shouldn’t have received in-state preference points from the district.

    The company is also protesting similar awards by Santa Fe Public Schools and Los Lunas Public Schools.

  • District stuck in the middle

    Even though the Los Alamos Board of Education recently awarded the Los Alamos Middle School construction project to McCarthy — which beat out two other companies - construction on the project has been delayed indefinitely.

    That’s because one of the two companies that lost out to McCarthy, Albuquerque-based Bradbury Stamm, is protesting that McCarthy shouldn’t have received in-state preference. The company is also protesting similar awards by Santa Fe Public Schools and Los Lunas Public Schools.

  • UNM-LA advances training program

    The Accelerate Technical Training Program brings students a new approach to academic success.  It offers ongoing coaching that quickly prepares people of all ages and educational backgrounds for enhanced employment opportunities in science technology engineering, mathematics (STEM), and business.
    Accelerate provides a step toward obtaining jobs, as well as a flexible foundation for retraining as industries and employers innovate in the future. The program is available at six regional colleges including UNM-Los Alamos and UNM-Taos.
    The program provides students with academic and career coaching, helps them connect with employers in their field and provides them with professional readiness training, UNM-LA Accelerate Coordinator Jackie La New said.

  • School board approves $62.6 million budget

    The Los Alamos Board of Education unanimously approved its overall $62.6 million budget for the upcoming school year.

    The money includes funding for a three percent pay increase to classified employees or non-instructional staff.

    Of that $62.6 million, $34.4 million is appropriated for operational expenses.

    Last week, the board approved additional funding for line items that had been slashed previously as part of cost-saving efforts.

    That funding increase is a result of additional revenue coming in because enrollment is up.

    Of those line items is funding for next year’s school board election, additional professional development opportunities for teachers, and funding for grounds maintenance.