Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said he didn't see the situation as chaotic but just challenging.
School board OKs 6% raises

The Los Alamos School Board approved a $40.6 million budget for fiscal school year 2019-2020 Tuesday, which included a 6% increase for teachers and staff mandated by the state.

In order to cover the cost of the raises without making cuts to programs or laying off staff, the administration took $6 million out of an annual $8 million allocation the Department of Energy gives the school district every year.

It’s customary for the district to use part of the DOE allocation every year for teacher salaries.

This year, state funding for the schools totaled $30.5 million. Other revenue for the $40 million budget also included a $1.1 carryover from last year, $264,181 in property taxes, $13,000 in fees, $50,000 in investments on short term CDs, $25,000 in rental income, another $508,000 in DOE funding, a $53,220 “E-Rate Program” rebate and $60,000 in miscellaneous funding.

Montoya said much of the money to balance the budget came from a line-by-line examination of what they could expense forward or take out altogether.

“We reduced overages where we could afford it,” Montoya said.

Though every year the school district has to make financial projections based on what happens during the January legislative sessions, this year was even more of a guessing game.