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Education

  • Belt-tightening continues for LAPS

    Education leaders from around the state spent the latter part of the week at a conference in Albuquerque, hoping to gain an understanding of exactly how much they are expected to trim from their budgets.
    During the legislative session, Gov. Susana Martinez said districts could expect to make a 1.5 percent reduction in their budgets, however, Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera recently announced that the unit value used in school funding is down by 3.4 percent, $126.20 per student, rather than the 1.5 percent Martinez talked about.
    Districts already were anticipating cuts because of a halt in federal stimulus dollars and lower state funding. Now they are faced with having to make even deeper cuts.

  • County could rescue UNM-LA

    Conversation briefly stopped when County Councilor Mike Wismer walked into Monday night’s special meeting between UNM-Los Alamos Advisory Board members and college administrators.

    A 12-percent tuition increase, an online course fee hike and a proposed operating budget that will dip into college reserves were on the table.

    “I just have two questions,” Wismer informed the board after listening to the issues. “Will you be coming to the county for a request of funds for FY 2011-2012 and are you contemplating a mil levy?”

    UNM-LA Executive Director Cedric Page told Wismer that he has met with the county administrator and discussed a policy that the county might adopt to support education in the community.

  • LAPS looks at land deals

    With an already tight budget and $600,000 less coming from state funding, Los Alamos Public Schools is looking for ways to find money.

    The district currently owns property at 288 DP Road, known as parcel A-15. On Jan. 11, 2006, the federal government transferred the land to the LAPS district and though the land has been vacant, there may be a possibility that the district could soon see rental dollars coming in for that property.

    In December 2010, the school district submitted a rezoning application for the property, asking that it be changed from F-L (federal land) zoning to M-2 (Heavy Industrial) zoning. That request was granted and the land now has an M-2 zoning.

  • Governor signs education transparency bills

    ALBUQUERQUE— Gov. Susana Martinez on Wednesday signed into law legislation aimed at increasing transparency among New Mexico’s public school districts and strengthening oversight of charter schools.
    Among the four bills signed by the governor during a ceremony at Albuquerque’s Sandia High School was a measure that requires financial information about school districts and charter schools to be posted on a government website known as the “sunshine portal.”

  • Martinez signs school grading system legislation

    Los Alamos School Superintendent Eugene Schmidt finds Gov. Susana Martinez’s latest education legislation to be “intriguing.”
    On Tuesday, Martinez signed Senate Bill 427 into law, creating an A-F school grading system for New Mexico’s schools.
    The measure, sponsored by Sen. Vernon Asbill (R-Carlsbad) and Rep. Dennis Roch (R-Texico) received bipartisan support throughout the legislative process.
    “I had the opportunity to speak with Senator Asbill during the legislative session. In addition, several school board members and members of my administrative team met with Secretary of Education Skandera to discuss this bill while session was ongoing,” Schmidt said.

  • District scrambles to cut costs

    Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series on the proposed bell schedule changes for Los Alamos Public Schools.

    Eyeing the prospect of a $600,000 reduction in state funding, the Los Alamos Board of Education is contemplating whether to change the current bell schedule for both primary and secondary grades in an effort to save money.

    The change in schedules could allow the district to gain some efficiency in bus routes with the potential to save up to $80,000 during the school year, although the final dollar figure in savings has yet to be confirmed by district officials.

    No conclusion has been reached on changes to the bell schedule; however, three proposals have been presented to the board for consideration.

  • Bell schedule may change for LAPS students

    Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on the proposed bell schedule changes for Los Alamos Public Schools.

    Change seems to be the theme for the 2010-2011 school year. Los Alamos High School students have dealt with construction at the school and on Diamond Drive for months and can look forward to more in the months ahead.

    Students might also be looking at a change in the school day if LAPS administrators decide that changing the bell schedule could save some money.

  • Albuquerque boy wins math contest; LA student also on national competition roster

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 13-year-old Albuquerque boy beat out 121 other math whizzes from across the state at the annual Mathcounts competition. An eighth grade student from Los Alamos also earned a spot at the national competition.

    Andy Chen, an eighth-grader at Albuquerque Academy, won the contest Saturday and will now head to the national Mathcounts competition.

    The nationwide competition will be held in May in Washington, D.C., and it'll be Chen's fourth time competing there.

    Chen ranked 26th at nationals last year in Orlando, Fla., and says he's looking forward to going again.

  • LAPS to buy Trinity complex

    The Los Alamos Board of Education took a big step Friday in its quest to buy its own building.

    Although there still are details to be worked out, the school board passed a resolution 3-1 to move ahead with purchasing the complex at 2075 and 2101 Trinity Drive and assuming the accompanying leases.

    The lone dissenting vote came from school board president Melanie McKinley.

    “I just don’t want to spend any money right now,” McKinley said after the meeting. “I respect my colleagues for making the decision they did. They want to get rid of the lease payments.”

    School superintendent Gene Schmidt, meanwhile, was happy with the vote.

  • LAPS sees uptick in enrollment

    For the past few years, schools in the Los Alamos School District have seen a mixed bag of decreases and increases in student enrollment.

    During Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting at Mountain Elementary, Assistant Superintendent Paula Dean discussed the enrollment trends from 2006-2011. For the past few years, the school district has focused on building enrollment in grades K-6. In an effort to help this process, out-of-district students have been accepted into those grades and so far, the method seems to be working, however, it also is creating a backlog of students hoping to get into the middle and high schools.