Santa Fe Public Schools adopts $301 million budget

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May 28—Santa Fe school board members approved a $301 million operating budget for the 2023 fiscal year Thursday night, ahead of a June 1 deadline to submit the document to the Public Education Department.

Board members Kate Noble, Sarah Boses and Sascha Anderson last week delayed approval, asking for more specifics about the budget, including details on programs and professional development.

Vice president Rudy Garcia and board member Carmen Gonzales were not present at last week's meeting but did vote Thursday following a nearly two-hour presentation from district officials.

The adopted 2023 budget is about $25 million less than the current 2022 fiscal year budget, which was more than $326.6 million, in part because some funding, including grants and other revenue, hasn't yet been received by the district and is expected to trickle in through the coming school year.

"We see our special revenue being smaller in FY 23 because we're budgeting what we know," Noble said Thursday.

The average enrollment for the 2021-22 school year was 400 students fewer than 2020-21, when the district reported 11,590 students. The drop translates to about a $2.2 million loss in revenue from the 2022 fiscal year, even as the state approved a 12 percent increase in the "unit value," which helps determine per-student funding.

A presentation from district official on the budget shows that while no currently filled staff positions are being cut next year, 31 vacant positions are being eliminated, and the number of classes in schools has been adjusted.

The presentation also stated the district will spend $4.9 million on state-mandated 7 percent average raises for education staff in the 2023 fiscal year.