Albuquerque Schools Ask State Legislature For $25 Million To Fund Security Upgrades
District officials want the New Mexico state legislature to create a new fund for school security upgrades that does not have as many restrictions on which districts can access the money and how much is paid out.
- By Haley Samsel
- September 09, 2019
After missing out on state funding for security upgrades due to unpaid debts, Albuquerque Public Schools are asking the state to provide $25 million to improve school safety.
Earlier this year, the district applied for an estimated $17 million of the $46 million allocated by the state legislature for security improvements during the 2018-2019 school year. But the council that determines how the money is spent said that the cut for APS should go toward paying the district’s debt to the state.
Now, Albuquerque officials are asking state legislators for help in landing $25 million in upgrades they say are necessary to improve student and staff safety.
“I don’t think anybody can argue that security funding is very important,” Scott Elder, the chief operating officer for the school district police department, told local news station KRQE.
Most of the money would go toward perimeter fencing, card access for doors, vestibules requiring people to ring in to get into schools and classroom locks, Elder said. But the chances of the district actually getting the money without having to pay at least half of the cost are low.
That’s mostly due to complications with New Mexico’s funding system for school security. The state created a capital outlay school security fund two years ago that gives out $10 million per year. However, Albuquerque does not qualify for the security money because it already gets a share of capital outlay funding elsewhere.
In order to get security funds, the district would have to return $7 million of the allocation to the state. Albuquerque officials are hoping that the legislature will create another security fund that does not require paybacks in the process.
“There’s money and I think it’s really important to apply it to a critical area of need,” Elder said.
State funds are one of the last ways that the district can get security funding since residents voted against a bond in February, KRQE reported. In November, voters will decide on a $300 million funding allocation, $5 million of which would go toward security upgrades.