The Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve the district’s 2018-19 operating budget. The budget — which is just more than $348 million dollars — was developed through a transparent and collaborative approach based on recommendations from staff, students, more than 800 community members and the school board.
“We are pleased that the board voted to approve the proposed budget,” said Superintendent Greg Ewing. “We have worked closely with a number of stakeholders to transparently assemble a budget which addresses the immediate needs of the district and puts the education of students first. This budget allows us to improve the security at our schools while giving teachers and staff the much-needed raises they deserve.”
The approved budget includes $196,847,435 of operational funds, the majority of which funds employee salaries and benefits. The remainder is comprised of various state and federal funds, which are earmarked for specific purposes.
Budget goals for the coming year included protecting classrooms, providing salary increases for all district employees, developing a balanced budget with adequate stakeholder input, and maintaining a sufficient cash reserve, Superintendent Greg Ewing told board members at a special meeting on Tuesday.
An overview of the proposed budget was presented to the public at a town hall meeting on Thursday, May 31. Members of the public were encouraged to submit questions in writing. The answers to those questions can be found on the district’s website.
In addition to budget specifics, the town hall meeting also included discussion of preliminary staff allocations for all of the district’s elementary, middle and high schools.
The approved 2018-19 budget provides for the addition of 25 new security guards, to be assigned at each of the district’s elementary schools, as well as four security guards to work nights and weekends.
Additionally, the approved budget includes an average 2.5 percent salary increase for teachers. The minimum base salary for a Level 1, 2 or 3 teacher was also increased by $2,000 per year. All other employees will see an average salary increase of two percent.
The budget will now be submitted to the New Mexico Public Education Department for final approval.
The budget, as proposed and approved, is available for the public to view on the district’s website at lcps.k12.nm.us, as is the Powerpoint presentation from last week’s town hall meeting. Video of both meetings can be accessed by visiting LCPS.TV.
— Damien Willis, LCPS Director of Communications, 575-527-5811, firstname.lastname@example.org