Most recent story posted first.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Albuquerque Public School district is questioning why a charter school superintendent makes more money than the mayor of Albuquerque.
Scott Glasrud oversees three charter schools, Southwest Primary, La Luz Del Monte and Southwest Secondary.
According to reports, he oversees slightly fewer than 500 students and gets paid $204,000 per year.
Winston Brooks, superintendent of the Albuquerque Public School district, supervises 94,000 students and makes $256,000 per year.
"I think a $204,000 salary for 500 kids is absolutely outrageous," said Marty Esquivel, president of APS school board.
Esquivel said this raises questions about accountability in the charter school system and questions who is overseeing the schools.
"They have charter boards that supposedly oversee the directors and principals, but are those boards really truly doing that," said Esquivel.
Action 7 News tried contacting Scott Glasrud but his secretary said he was unavailable for interviews Thursday.
Glasrud released a written statement and in it he said he made no apologies for his salary at each school, and that his job description includes all duties performed by a principal as well as those of a superintendent.
He also said if he was not performing those duties, someone else would have to, and that the cost to the schools would actually be higher to split the duties.
"The mayor of Albuquerque makes $100,000 a year, is that job tougher than being the mayor of Albuquerque?" said Esquivel.
APS want the relationship between the district and charter schools to be clearer. They plan on bringing up the issue to lawmakers during the next legislative session.
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APS is considering revoking the charters of four schools. (KOBTV, February 23, 2010)
At a meeting Monday night, Superintendent Winston Brooks said the charter schools have not disclosed certain financial records.
The schools are Amy Biehl Charter High, La Luz del Monte Learning Center, Southwest Primary, and Southwest Secondary Learning Centers.
Nearly 800 students attend those four schools.
The superintendent says he's giving the schools until 4 p.m. on Friday to hand over the information, or else they will face losing their charters.
This comes just days after a state audit found financial problems with 36 APS charter schools.
After the report came out, APS officials said it didn't know if it had the authority to oversee charter school finances. The state education secretary quickly responded saying APS does indeed have that authority.
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Charter schools will get close monitoring.(The Albuquerque Tribune, April 20, 2005)
The Albuquerque Board of Education wants to keep a closer eye on its charter schools.
The board authorized the monitoring of schools that must submit monthly financial reports and bank statements for review.
First on the watch list will likely be three Horizon Academies, which have been under scrutiny by the state Public Education Department and Albuquerque Public Schools. About 1,600 Albuquerque children are enrolled on Horizon's three campuses.
The school board on Tuesday heard an update on the financial, instructional and governance issues that Horizon has dealt with in recent weeks. …
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More charter schools juggling numbers. (The Santa Fe New Mexican, March 6, 2002)
Santa Fe's Monte del Sol not the only N.M. charter school to face budget woes
Santa Fe's Monte del Sol Charter School was not the only such institution in the state that had to make an adjustment to its budget recently.
Five other charter schools also made adjustments because of enrollment changes and other factors. One school -- the Learning Community Charter School in Albuquerque -- had to adjust its budget by $1.5 million.
Other schools that had to make adjustments include the Amy Biehl Charter School, South Valley Charter School and the Twenty-First Century Charter School, all in Albuquerque. The Cottonwood Charter School in Socorro also made an adjustment.
Monte del Sol learned about its adjustment about three weeks ago. The school incorrectly calculated the number of special-services teachers it would need, and now it will have to trim its budget by $316,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year which ends June 30.
Charter schools are publicly funded, but they are run by their own governing boards. The state and their local school districts oversee the schools…
…Because it's clear the charter school cannot function for the remainder of the year without the money, Monte del Sol has asked both the state and the Santa Fe school district -- which both have oversight of the school -- to come to its aid.
Kathleen Forrer, chief financial officer for the state Department of Education, said the three are working together to resolve the issue. Before the state can offer assistance, the charter school must trim its budget as much as possible, she said.
She said the state has $2.4 million in emergency funds that schools and districts can use if they don't have sufficient money to cover their expenditures.
There is also a possibility the Santa Fe school district can also let Monte del Sol borrow emergency funds, although a final decision about that prospect will be made by the school board.
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APS could revoke schools’ charter (KRQE, February 23, 2010)
ONE OTHER ITEM OF INTEREST
N.M. charter schools trail traditional public schools, study says (New Mexico Independent, June 23, 2009)
Only six of New Mexico’s 73 charter schools outperformed their public school counterparts on standardized test scores, a new study shows. The study also found that New Mexico was one of six states where charter school students’ academic gains were lower on average than those of their public school counterparts…
… While students at six New Mexico charter schools outperformed their public school counterparts, students at 27 other charter schools achieved the same level of performance; another 12 charters posted mixed results; and 10 charter schools posted lower academic gains, the study found…