With school set to start on Aug. 13, the Los Lunas School District is again dealing with budget issues.
Based on a letter sent to school districts throughout New Mexico in June, the Los Lunas Schools will get 60 percent less in unit-value funding than was expected from the state.
Instead of $2,896 — or $25 more per student — Los Lunas will see a revenue change of only $2,871 more — or about $15 per child. Those numbers may change later in the school year.
The district had expected to see $495,853 more in state funding than last year. Now, the reality is that Los Lunas will only get a cut of $297,611.
“They’re taking more than $100,000 out of the budget. That’s a small amount compared to the total budget,” Deputy Superintendent Bill Moffatt said.
After the governor vetoed the state budget twice, Moffatt said, the business department spent months trying to complete a “fair” budget.
“This is just another hurdle in a year full of them. It’s just another frustration. It’s a year when things are lean and every cent is important. One dollar is $1.”
Although none of the difference in funding will be taken from instruction, Moffatt says, the change will present some challenges to the district. The district intends to cut back in maintenance to help solve the problem.”
“It will not have a significant affect on the budget,” he said. “We need to plan on opening school and getting the books in the kids’ hands instead of dealing with the budget process even more. It’s frustrating to have to deal with this.”
Moffatt says the cut in funding will not stop the step-increase scheduled for district employees.
Based on the 2002-2003 final budget, employees of the Los Lunas Schools can expect to see a 1 to 1.7 percent pay raise ,depending on experience and how long they’ve been with the district.