Surveys to guide LAPS cuts

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Results will be shared with public next month

By Jennifer Garcia

Belt-tightening and budgeting is becoming commonplace in light of the country’s economic situation. Families and individuals are feeling the pinch, as are state and school entities.
For the past several months, the Los Alamos Public Schools Long Range Financial Planning Committee worked on putting together a series of surveys that allowed LAPS stakeholders to have input on the budget process. The survey closed on March 6 and now the planning committee will begin compiling information to be shared with the public during a school board meeting in April.
During Tuesday night’s school board meeting, the board briefly discussed the surveys.
A total of six surveys were available for request by the public. They included elementary programs, middle school programs, high school programs, athletics, technology, transportation, facilities, student services, curriculum and assessment and central office. The purpose of the surveys was to gauge which programs the public deems important to the school district. That feedback would then give LAPS administrators a better idea of where the budget could be trimmed.
Each survey took approximately 30 minutes to complete and the public was able to fill out any or all of the surveys.
“A lot has taken place,” LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt said. “… In April we’ll share the results of the surveys.”
Schmidt said the community continues to be interested in the budget and the surveys and where the process is going.
School Board President Melanie McKinley said response for the surveys was good. She said 506 survey requests were sent out for Los Alamos Middle School, of which 206 were returned. 604 requests were sent out for Los Alamos High School, 341 were returned. 753 were sent out for athletics, technology, transportation and facilities, 442 were returned. 539 were sent out for central office, 296 were returned. 673 were sent out for student services, 383 were returned.
With budget cuts looming, McKinley said that there has been some concern about job security in the past.
“There are going to be a lot of people who are happy when this is done,” McKinley said. “Knowing the results will put job concerns to rest … We’re spreading the stress a lot further, but there will be a collective sigh of relief.”