Districts Protect Dollars to the Classroom

New Mexico’s School Districts Overwhelmingly Protect Dollars to the Classroom
SANTA FE – Protecting dollars to the classroom is more than a phrase to the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED). At a time when districts must make tough decisions, PED’s review of all school district budgets found that 100% protected dollars to the classroom. “Preserving dollars to the classroom isn’t an empty promise, it’s a commitment to our kids and to our future,” said PED Secretarydesignate Hanna Skandera. “We promised reform in New Mexico’s schools and that includes focusing our dollars on our children and in our classrooms” she continued.

By making budget cuts elsewhere in state government, the overall appropriation to school districts was reduced by only 1.5%. Governor Susana Martinez requested that school districts find that savings by making cuts to the administration, while protecting classroom spending, and PED Secretary-designate pledged to work with local districts to do just that.

In fact, this year school districts across New Mexico devoted over $6 million dollars more than last year to direct instruction and nearly 74% of their budgets were focused on dollars to the classroom, also an increase from the year before.

Each year PED reviews the proposed budgets submitted by districts. This year’s review was much more
than a rubber-stamp. To protect classroom spending, PED budget analysts compared budgets from yearto-
year and found that the overwhelming majority maintained or increased dollars to direct instruction. In
some cases, PED staff were able to work with districts to find cost savings in their budget, saving teaching
jobs and increasing classroom spending.

From one end of New Mexico to another, Superintendents, school board members and others were able to
work together on budgets that made sure children were placed first.

In the southeast part of New Mexico, Roswell Independent Schools increased dollars to their classrooms
to over 75% of the district’s budget. “The Roswell Independent School District School Board along with my
administrative staff, and I fully understood Governor Martinez’s and Secretary Skandera’s directive to focus
on the classrooms and reduce administrative costs,” said Superintendent Mike Gottlieb. ”We took this
endeavor very seriously and planned our budget accordingly.”
New Mexico Public Education Department

In Farmington, the school district made tough choices resulting in a budget that increased classroom spending. “A child remembers his/her teacher. A teacher has the most lasting effect on a child. Next to
the child’s parents, his or her teachers http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/ambien/ have the most influence on motivating learning. It is only though
good, caring teachers that learning takes on meaning and a child is motivated,” said Superintendent Janel
Ryan. “We have an obligation to provide whatever a classroom teacher needs to ensure quality learning
can take place,” she added.

The Rio Rancho School district submitted a budget that reflects their top priority. “In the past four years of
budget reductions our staff has made considerable sacrifices in order to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible, because we know the interaction between teachers and students is essential to student success. To this end, Rio Rancho Public Schools engages in a careful and thorough budget process directed towards assuring this first priority is met,” said Superintendent Dr. Sue Cleveland.

Rural school districts shared in the goal of protecting classroom dollars as well. “Kids are always the top
priority at Clayton Schools. To that end we try to keep as much funding in the classroom as possible,”
said Clayton Superintendent Jack Wiley.

In Carlsbad, students were the top priority. “The education of our children is our priority and our goal is to
continue to support the classroom. Under extreme budget constraints, we did all we could to maintain and
improve conditions for our students and staff. Our budget development process allowed for discussion and
input from all District stakeholder groups, including parents and community,” said Superintendent Gary
Perkowski.

In Southwest New Mexico, Deming Public Schools met the challenge of keeping dollars where they belong. “We commit dollars to the classroom first. That’s where our children are and we believe that’s where funding should go,” said Superintendent Harvielee Moore.

Truth or Consequences Superintendent Tom Burris said, “Maintaining the priority of the school district
budget focused toward education and the classroom is a priority for the Truth or Consequences Municipal
Schools. This priority can most easily be seen in our ability to maintain class size numbers during this time
of challenging budgets. Class size numbers coupled with quality teaching that is aligned with curriculum district math and language coaches and data analysis are the primary components to student achievement.”

“These districts and many others should be commended for their work in taking on the challenge of putting
New Mexico’s children first. They took on the charge in tough times and their efforts will pay off for our children,” said Secretary-designate Skandera