On April 17, 2013, the Los Alamos School Board formed a budget committee consisting of LAPS school staff, members from the community, School Board members, and representatives from the County government and LANL.
The committee was charged with the responsibility of building a proposed 2013-14 operational budget for the school district that will be presented at an upcoming public community meeting.
In late May, the budget will go to the School Board for approval prior to submission to the New Mexico Public Education Department.
Building next year’s budget will present a challenge because of a projected shortfall. It is important to understand the factors contributing to that challenge.
The good news is the state did increase funding to Los Alamos Public Schools by approximately $111,000. However, many hard costs to the district have increased.
For example, increases in the employer portion of retirement and health benefit costs require an additional $426,000. Increased costs in utilities, school liability insurance and unemployment premiums add another $400,000.
In addition, the state built a much deserved one percent raise for staff ($267,000) into the budget. Another important financial consideration for next year’s budget is the implementation of the District’s Strategic Plan that lays out a very comprehensive and costly pathway to raise student achievement to an even higher level.
Because of the importance of the budget, the committee will carefully examine educational and operational expenses throughout the district.
The committee will evaluate recurring costs and make recommendations to trim where possible. Staff and community input are important in this process.
As such, a list of the committee members will be posted on the school district website. We encourage you to speak with committee members to share thoughts about the budget.
As this budget building process continues, we look forward to your comments in conversation and will provide updates to the public through local media.
In addition, opportunities for community input will be scheduled for several nights in May. As always, the community can be assured that the budget building process will be thoughtfully focused on raising student achievement.