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Public school district backtracks on promise to give staff bonus


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    ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOAT) — Thousands of Albuquerque teachers are left disappointed after the Albuquerque Public School District promised bonuses then backtracked.

The pandemic forced educators to d0 a 180 to teach online.

“They spent so much time trying to meet the needs of the kids, Ellen Bernstein with the Albuquerque Teachers Federation said.

Then more flip flipping transitioning back to in-person instruction.

“We spent months negotiating for every single employee, a small recognition for their hard work, during the most difficult years we ever had in public education,” Bernstein said. “They were so excited.”

Bernstein said the union negotiated a deal with APS to use federal stimulus money to give one time, $1,000 bonuses to full-time staff and $500 bonuses to part-time staff.

“I was very disheartened to learn that the New Mexico State Auditor’s Office raised concerns that our proposed efforts to compensate you, violated the NM State Constitution. And more specifically, the anti-donation clause,” Scott Elder the APS superintendent said.

KOAT reached out to the state auditor’s office for comment.

“We know that there are hard-working women and men, APS employees, including my wife, who should be compensated appropriately. But at the end of the day, the Office of the State Auditor is going to follow the law,” State Auditor Brian Colón said.

Colon added that the state constitution does not allow for state employees, including teachers, to get bonuses.

“Just that feeling of elation and then let down has to be so hard,” Bernstein said.

APS, the state auditor’s office, the Albuquerque Teachers Federation and others are now negotiating to cut a new deal.

“I hope it’s promises made and promises delayed,” Bernstein said.

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