On April 27, the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee’s program evaluation team issued its 64 page “Program Evaluation for the Albuquerque Public Schools”. Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) does periodic reviews of the state’s public schools and the report about the district is the first conducted since 2007. A formal presentation of the entire report was made to the 9 member Legislative Finance Committee at the capitol on April 7. You can read the entire report at this link.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The postscript to this blog article contains edited highlights of the LFC’s program evaluation report.
On April 27, lead LFC program evaluator Katie Dry told the 9 member New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee that APS is the state’s largest school district, responsible for educating nearly a quarter of New Mexico students and is given nearly 25% of the state’s public education budget. She told the committee:
“Despite more funding, and fewer students, student outcomes in the district remain low and are getting worse. So what happens in the district in terms of funding and enrollment and student performance has important implications for the rest of the state.”
APS Superintendent Scott Elder said the evaluation “highlighted some realities” for the district. Elder also noted some were not news and that progress has been made on some of the issues like eliminating hundreds of vacant positions and moving staff around.
APS Superintendent Scott Elder told the committee:
“We understood we were going to be reviewed, and that they would find things that we would have to address. … We understand our role in the state to improve the state outcomes, and we look forward to working with you to make improvements in the state because there are some things that you know, and we know that need to be changed.”
Elder acknowledged that per-pupil funding has increased, but said that so has inflation and mandatory salary increases. The district is short around $22 million for salary increases when factoring in raises for federally-funded employees, he said, adding that it would be potentially “fiscally irresponsible” to use funds set to expire in the coming years for recurring expenses.
Albuquerque Public School enrollment declined 17% over the past decade, driven by lower birth rates and growth at charter schools. Meanwhile per-student funding increased by 49% and achievement gaps between low-income and other students in reading and math widened in Albuquerque more than in the rest of the state. The report also documented rising facility costs and a 21% increase in learning space, even as enrollment dropped.
During the April 27 presentation before the Legislative Finance Committee, lead LFC program evaluator Katie Dry told the 9 member Committee that the Albuquerque Public School (APD) System should cut staff in its K-12 schools and downsizing its footprint because of dwindling enrollment. The committee was further told that APS should spend more for the education of low-income students who have fallen further behind their peers during this school year.
WORKFORCE AND SCHOOL FACILITIES
According to the LFC program evaluation report, under the school funding formula for 2022, APS schools are suppose to have 8,753 full-time employees, but actually have 9,169. The district had 492 more K-12 teachers than the formula called for but 357 fewer special education teachers and educational assistants than recommended.
One spending area that needs to be addressed includes a workforce that over the last 10 years has only gone down by 3%, despite an enrollment drop of 17% during that time frame. Funded but unfilled positions also play a role in apparent deficits.
The LFC report states:
“[Kindergarten classes have seen the] greatest decline of any grade of 2,700 students since 2012. Dwindling enrollment in such lower grades, along with faltering birth rates will mean further enrollment declines in coming years. … APS is faced with a challenge of adjusting its workforce and physical infrastructure to the reality of its declining student population.”
LFC evaluators said the majority of kindergarten through sixth grade, or 60% to 74%, of classes and grade levels were enrolled below capacity, providing “opportunities for consolidation.” Evaluators said as an example, APS could tackle both under-enrolled elementary school and sixth-grade classes and overstaffing by combining classes and cutting teaching positions by around 42.
The Program Evaluation report recommends that APS Albuquerque Public let go 400 of the district’s 12,000 employees, but did not go so far as to specify how many of the district’s increasingly empty schools it should close. The school district has 144 schools and 73,000 students, down from 85,000 six years ago.
Public schools in New Mexico have not recovered from the exodus of students that accelerated during the pandemic. Student enrollment across the state and in Albuquerque is down 4%, more than the average of 2.6% that exsists for 41 U.S. states. Thousands of families in New Mexico amid the pandemic tried homeschooling or charter schools for the first time and didn’t send their kids back to classrooms this year. Despite getting financing federal pandemic relief funds, most school districts across the U.S. now have fewer students and less funding than before the pandemic, forcing educators to consider cutting spending.
The LFC’s Program Evaluation said APS should prioritize filling special education positions and offer bonuses to teachers in high-need positions at schools serving greater numbers of low-income students. According to the report, the district currently has more than 600 job openings listed, many for special education instructors.
Complicating the problem is that many APS teachers are expected to retire this year. Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein said APS is already transferring eachers from emptier schools to fuller ones. She said uncertainty over who will be moved and when is causing “incredible stress” for teachers. Bernstein did give the district credit for transferring teachers now instead of during the fall, when transfers normally happen. Earlier transfers are better for students and staff, Bernstein said.
The LFC report said the district’s low-income students are learning, but their advancement in reading and math is much slower than their more privileged peers. Higher rates of absenteeism for the district’s students and fewer learning days are part of the problem. This year, 36% of Albuquerque’s students missed at least 10 days of school, including excused absences for illness or sports, compared to 30% of students statewide. In response to the absenteeism problem, the New Mexico Legislature allocated $46 million in funding for APS to fund extra learning days. Schools are still deciding if they’ll take the money, and many are expected not to because teachers and parents want long summers.
APS BOARD REJECTS FUNDING
According to the LFC program evaluators, adding classroom time could allow for more staff professional development, along with improving student test scores and college readiness. However, APS declined the funding. On April 6, APS board members rejected a proposal to implement extended learning time and the elementary-geared Transformational Opportunity Pilot Schools model, which would have added extra days and hours, across the district. They cited community disapproval as factors into their decision.
APS Superintendent Scott Elder responded to the rejection of the funding this way:
“For my teaching staff, a lot of it was just ‘we’re tired, we’re burnt out — even (for) 10 days extra. … This is probably the first time in education that I recall teachers saying ‘enough, I won’t take more money, because I can’t do anything more. That’s unusual.”
Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teacher’s Federation, had this to say:
“We don’t have that buy-in, teachers are burnt out, and so if we can’t change the environment, we need to improve it and improve the way that we’re interacting with each other so that we’re recognizing that social-emotional piece within the staff as well.”
CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS
The LFC program evaluation report alluded to the closing of schools but Albuquerque Superintendent Scott Elder did tell to lawmakers that section of the report was “a bit of euphemism for closing schools.” Elder had this to say:
“Closing schools … is complicated, political and often harms the communities that need the most support. … If we shut schools, kids that live close to that school have to be transported to their new school, so we would have significant impacts on transportation.”
In a written response to the committee’s report, Superintendent Scott Elder said increased funding is often tied to salary increases and cannot be used to fund services for at-risk youth. He also pointed out that while overall enrollment is down, low-income and other at-risk students represent a larger share of the student population.
The LFC Program Evaluation report states that APS “consistently overestimates” spending, particularly in general supplies and materials. According to the report, the average in overestimated spending between 2017 and 2021 was around $30 million in overestimated spending for each year. The evaluators said the district claims an “apparent deficit” every year, which partly stems from budgeted revenues being surpassed by spending assumptions that “actually don’t end up materializing.”
That’s allowed by the state Public Education Department as long as school districts can cover the difference with cash on hand but that rule contributes to the reported deficits. The LFC evaluators noted that districts realistically don’t use up all their cash on making up that gap. In fact, it was reported APS has kept its cash balances in excess, consistently surpassing its target of 5% of operational spending since 2014. In 2021 it had $11 million more than its 5% target.
The LFC Program report noted that APS has said since 2019 that it should craft a 5 year plan to manage its finances amid projected drops in enrollment and funding, APS has not done such a plan. Finance management plans are common for other large New Mexico districts even though they are not required by law. District officials have announced that cuts are needed and asked parents and staff to offer ideas to reduce costs in recent months.
OVERSIGHT OF OUTSIDE CONTRACTS
The LFC Program report credited Albuquerque Public Schools for increased oversight of outside contracts ranging from face masks to learning software, potentially cutting down on fraud and waste. It also recognized the district for having low administrative spending of about 4%, on par with districts of its size nationally. In 2021, a former APS employee and former member of the state legislature [Sheryl Williams Stapleton] came under criminal investigation for procurement violations. She resigned both her employment with APS and her position with the New Mexico Legislature and the criminal case is still pending. In response, the district strengthened existing policies and procedures and introduced new ones.
TEACHERS REACT TO REPORT
Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teacher’s Federation believes the report is the LFC coming down on APS to force them into extended learning, something the district has already voted on. She had this to say to say about the LFC’s report and the closure of schools:
“I think if the teachers who are teaching all day had read that report, they would have been really upset because they are already cutting staff in schools. … It is very emotional when a school is closed. It means that some kids can’t walk to school. Kids have to stay on the bus longer. Teachers have to move to a new teaching environment, move all their stuff. Neighborhood schools are important to families. We should not close them. I think what would be refreshing is if the staff of the LFC made a recommendation to fully and permanently fund our public schools and to listen to the educators who are the experts about what would make the biggest difference for our students.”
The links to quoted news source materials are here:
KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK
On January 19, 2022, the New Mexico Voices for Children released the 2021 Kids Count Data Book. The annual “Kids Count” data book is prepared by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The Casey foundation is a nonprofit based in Maryland focusing on improving the well-being and future of American children and their families. It assesses how New Mexico children are faring in a number of areas including economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The “Kids Count Data Book” is a 90 page document with an extensive number of tables, graphs charts and statistics listing and counties in the state.
The links to the Kids Count Data Book is here:
NEW MEXICO’S EDUCATION RANKINGS AND PERCENTAGES IN A NUTSHELL
As the old saying goes, what happens in Albuquerque directly impacts the rest of the State. Education is no different. Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) is responsible for educating one-quarter of public-school students statewide. APS accounts for a similar percentage of the New Mexico public education budget. Therefore, the state’s education ranking merit review.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The term “child” refers to the age group from birth through 17 years. Poverty is defined as those living at or below the federal poverty level (FPL). The FPL for a family of three was $21,720 in 2020, the year the most recent data were collected.
Following are New Mexico’s rankings in the nation gleaned from the 2021 Kids Count Data Book as it relates to education:
50th in the nation for education.
29th in the number of young children not enrolled in school.
45th with children living with families where the head of the household lacked a high school diploma.
49th in the nation for eighth grade math proficiency.
50th in the nation for fourth grade reading proficiency.
Following are the state’s percentages gleaned from the 2021 Kids Count Data Book:
76% of New Mexico’s fourth graders are not proficient in reading.
79% of New Mexico’s 8th graders are not proficient in math.
25% of New Mexico’s high school students do not graduate on time.
9.3% low birth weights for children born in New Mexico.
14% of New Mexico children live in families where the household head lacks a high school education or 69,000 children.
Following are the narratives on the major findings of the Kids Count Data Book for 2021 when it comes to the education categories:
Between 2018 and 2019, the number of young children not enrolled in school decreased slightly, bumping our national ranking up from 30th to 29th. However, New Mexico’s rate of young children not enrolled in school has not changed much over the long term and is actually only slightly better than it was in 2009.
While the state is continuing its planned rollout of the NM Pre-K program, insufficient funding for the child care assistance program over the last several years has meant that fewer families have been able to afford child care in a setting that is education oriented. While an influx of federal COVID-19 relief has allowed policymakers to make improvements and increases in some areas, these improvements will need to be sustained and made permanent after one-time federal money is spent to adequately address the pressing needs in this policy area.
FOURTH GRADE READING PROFIENCY
This Measures the percentage of fourth graders who scored below proficient in reading as measured and defined by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Children need to be able to read proficiently by fourth grade in order to be able to use their reading skills to learn other school subjects. In fact, kids who are not reading at grade level by this critical point are more likely to drop out of school and less likely to go to college. New Mexico ranks 50th in the nation in fourth grade reading proficiency.
The state had been making progress in this indicator, but this marked the first year since 2009 that the rate of students reading below proficiency increased. Reading proficiency is a crucial element of scholastic success, but in New Mexico, 76% of our children are not proficient in reading by the fourth grade. As has been the case in the past, boys, children of color, and children from families earning low incomes have proficiency rates that are below the state average in fourth grade reading.
EIGHTH GRADE MATH PROFIENCY
This Measures the percentage of eighth graders who scored below proficient in math as measured and defined by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Math proficiency by the eighth grade is necessary for students to do well in high school math courses and attend college. As more and more jobs in today’s increasingly high-tech work environment depend on science, technology, engineering, and math skills, students not proficient in math are at a real disadvantage. New Mexico ranks 49th in eighth grade math proficiency. The 79% of New Mexico eighth graders who are behind in math are likely to struggle in high school and college math courses.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES
One-quarter of New Mexican high schoolers do not graduate on time. This rate is significantly worse than the national average of 14%. For the sixth year in a row, New Mexico is ranked 50th among the states on this indicator. Though New Mexico continues to rank very poorly on this measure, the state has made improvements in this indicator over the long term, going from 35% of students not graduating on time in 2009 to 25% not graduating on time in 2019.
The biggest improvements in this indicator over that time period were seen among Native American and Hispanic students. Graduating on time is important because those who don’t are more likely to drop out altogether and those who don’t dropout are less likely to go on to college. Adults without a high school diploma are more likely to be employed in low-paying jobs, not have benefits like paid leave and health insurance, and have higher unemployment rates than those with higher levels of educational attainment.
A link to a related blog article is here:
YAZZIE V. STATE OF NEW MEXICO AND MARTINEZ REVISITED
On Friday, July 20, 2018, Santa Fe District Court Judge Sarah Singleton ruled in the case of Yazzie v. State of New Mexico and Governor Suzanna Martinez that the state of New Mexico was violating the constitutional rights of at-risk students by failing to provide them with a sufficient education. The consolidated lawsuit was filed by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
The Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit, brought on by a coalition of parents, students, lawmakers and others in 2014, charged New Mexico had not done enough to address the needs of Native Americans, English-language learners, disabled and low-income students. The Plaintiffs argued that the New Mexico public schools were inadequately funded. All those student groups typically lag behind Anglo students when it comes to math and reading proficiency. While the court ruling did not apply a price tag to its mandate, it said New Mexico has to begin providing remedies for that problem.
In a 75-page decision, the Court ruling centered on the guaranteed right under the New Mexico Constitution to a sufficient education for all children. The lawsuit alleged a severe lack of state funding, resources and services to help students, particularly children from low-income families, students of color, including Native Americans, English-language learners and students with disabilities. The court rejected arguments by Governor Susana Martinez’s administration that the education system is improving and for that reason it does not need more funding. The Court found that the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) did not do the best it could with the funding it has given by the legislature to the education system.
WHAT THE STATE IS DOING TO TURN THINGS AROUND
The biggest accomplishments of the 2019 Legislative session were the dramatic increases in public education funding, creation of the Early Childhood Department (CYFD), the mandates to Children, Youth and Families and Public Education departments, not to mention raises for educators and increasing CYFD social workers by 125 were clearly the biggest accomplishments of the 2019 Legislative session.
It was almost 2 years ago on July 1, 2020 that the Lujan Grisham administration launched its new Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD).
The new department is charged with preparing children for school, promoting healthy families and developing a labor force to carry out the agency’s work. Creation of the new department was a major priority of Governor Lujan Grisham during the 2019 legislative session where it won approval. The agency formally began operation on July 1, the start of the 2021 fiscal year. About 270 employees from other departments were transferred into the new one. The sponsors of the legislation were Democratic Senator Michael Padilla of Albuquerque and Representative Linda Trujillo of Santa Fe.
New Mexico is 1 of just 4 states with a stand-alone department dedicated to services targeting children through age 5. The initial operating budget for the new department was $419 million for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The new department is tasked with overseeing the state’s growing investment in prekindergarten, home visiting programs for new parents, childcare and similar services that previously were scattered across several departments. One of the key goals is to better coordinate the state’s network of early childhood services by housing them in one department rather than having them overseen separately by other departments.
2022 LEGISLATIVE FUNDING
During the 2022 New Mexico Legislative session, a trio of bills to fund programs to help Native American students succeed in school were enacted. The house bills provided more than $70 million to tribal entities to help offer culturally relevant lesson plans and access to virtual and after-school programs for those students.
On bill appropriated $20 million from the state’s general fund to the Indian Education Act to provide educational funding for tribes starting July 1, 2024. That money will be used to create culturally relevant learning programs, including Native language programs, for students in the K-12 system. A Legislative Education Study Committee report says if the bill becomes law, each of the state’s 23 tribal entities would receive $547,826 per year.
A second bill appropriated $21.5 million to help tribal education departments develop learning plans and programs for students, extend learning opportunities and support tribal school libraries. That bill also would take effect July 1, 2024. Each tribe and pueblo would get $250,000 a year, with the exception of the Navajo Nation, which would get $500,000, according to the bill’s fiscal report.
The third bill was aimed at higher education. It appropriates $29.6 million to four state colleges and three tribal colleges for 53 initiatives, such as building a Native American teacher pipeline and expanding high school-to-college programs to encourage those students to attend college. The bill’s fiscal impact report says it is assumed the bill would go into effect 90 days after the last day of the Legislature once Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed it into law.
The link to quoted news source material is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
There is no getting around it. The New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee’s “Program Evaluation for the Albuquerque Public Schools” is as depressing as it gets when it comes to the city’s educational system. The problem is that it should come as no surprise when you take into consideration New Mexico’s national ranking when in comes to education as found in the 2021 Kids Count data book.
Four troubling findings in the Legislative Finance Committee Program Evaluation Reports Albuquerque Public School System merit repeating:
1. Albuquerque Public School enrollment has declined by 17% over the past decade, driven by lower birth rates and growth at charter schools
2. Per-student funding increased by 49% yet achievement gaps between low-income and other students in reading and math widened in Albuquerque more than in the rest of the state.
3. The report also documented rising facility costs and a 21% increase in learning space, even as enrollment dropped. The school district has 144 schools and 73,000 students, down from 85,000 six years ago.
4. APS schools are suppose to have 8,753 full-time employees, but actually have 9,169. The district had 492 more K-12 teachers than the formula called for but 357 fewer special education teachers and educational assistants than recommended.
APS and for that matter, the Albuquerque Teacher’s Federation are very consistent in complaining about the need for more funding and resources. Both can condemn the LFC report all they want, but that will not solve anything. APS is once again at a cross roads and must face the harsh reality that more and more funding is no solution for dramatic declines in enrollments nor poor achievement in the math and reading proficiency. For the sixth year in a row, New Mexico is ranked 50th among the states in graduation rates.
APS and the Albuquerque Teacher’s Federation have a long way to go to get their job done in educating our youth. The first step is assessing the real reasons why they are not getting the job done with the resources they have been given.
Highlights of the Program Evaluation Report for APS gleaned and edited from the report are as follows:
Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) is responsible for educating one-quarter of public-school students statewide. APS accounts for a similar percentage of the New Mexico public education budget. The district drives statewide trends in funding, enrollment, and performance.
Over the last decade, demographic changes reduced enrollment by nearly 17 % to 72.5 thousand in fiscal year 2022 [which ends June 20, 2022] while per-pupil funding for APS from the state equalization guarantee (SEG) funding formula grew by 49% to $9,919. The long-term trend in declining enrollment, worsened by the pandemic, will require the district to accelerate its efforts to adjust its workforce and physical infrastructure while also addressing increased building repair needs.
While operational spending has gone up between 2012 and 2021 by $126 million, or 21%, enrollment has dropped by 17% over the last decade. This statistic is cited repeatedly in the report. State funding has also gone up during that time, by $136 million, or 23%.
Despite more funding and fewer students, student outcomes remain low. Only 20% of APS students were proficient in math and 31% in reading in 2019. The over 51 thousand low-income students in APS show larger achievement gaps than low-income students statewide.
High school graduation rates, while improving, continue to lag national averages and college enrollment and readiness are declining. The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges: more students and teachers left the district, chronic absence rose, and significant unfinished learning needs to be addressed.
New data from mid-year assessments in APS elementary schools showed both lower proficiency and slowed growth in proficiency compared with results from before the Covid-19 pandemic. Low-income students, already starting behind their peers, experienced limited growth in proficiency.
Improving student outcomes will require increased use of effective programs and practices including extending learning time and improved professional development. In fiscal year 2021, there was $57 million in available state funds that could have been used by the district for these purposes, including untapped funding for K-5 Plus and extended learning time programs and excess cash balances.
Unprecedented levels of federal, pandemic-related funding totaling $359 million also present a unique opportunity for APS to respond to the Covid-19 emergency and make meaningful investments in positive change. A separate and pressing challenge to the district lies in the need for stronger oversight practices. The district strengthened procurement procedures in response to a recent criminal investigation against a former legislator and APS employee. Additional opportunities remain, including broadening the focus of the internal audit unit.
[APS has steadily lost students for a number of consecutive years and currently has 400 more teachers and staff members than it should.]
Reduced enrollment requires increased efficiencies in workforce and facilities. Falling birth rates and increased enrollment in Albuquerque charter schools are driving down enrollment in APS schools.
As enrollment declined 17% from Fiscal Year 2012 through Fiscal Year 2022, the total APS workforce dropped by just 3%. APS has taken some steps to reduce expenditures, but more action is required.
[The dropping enrollment at APS has been driven by falling birth rates, down by 24% between 2010 and 2020. On the other hand, there has been climbing enrollment in state and local charter schools in Albuquerque, up by 6,300 students since 2012.]
The LFC reported found that the majority of kindergarten through sixth grade, or 60% to 74%, of classes and grade levels were enrolled below capacity, providing “opportunities for consolidation.”
[While operational spending has gone up between 2012 and 2021 by $126 million, or 21%, enrollment has dropped by 17% over the last decade.]
[State funding has also gone up during that time, by $136 million, or 23%.]
67% of APS students in APS were counted as “at-risk” in 2022 which resulted in an allocation of $71.6 million in state funds. “At-risk” students include low-income and English learner students.
District students, and low-income students in particular, according to mid-year assessments, have seen slowed growth in proficiency compared with pre-pandemic rates.
Evaluators noted that high-school graduation rates are improving but still lag behind national averages.
Most APS elementary school grades and classes are currently enrolled below statutory maximums, presenting opportunities for consolidation.
The district’s total square footage grew while enrollment shifted across the city, amidst an overall decline.
In the last five years, building repair needs have grown , as measured by the state facility condition index, and schools with more low-income students have older buildings and tend to need more repairs.
APS relies on local funding for capital improvements and has little opportunity to participate in the state public school capital outlay system.
School property has also increased by 21% since 2012 while enrollment has “shifted across the city.”
Schools with more low-income students have typically had a higher need for buildings to be fixed, despite the district prioritizing capital funds for them.
Low and declining student outcomes require increased effective practices. Student outcomes in APS need improvement.
The district has low proficiency rates, large achievement gaps, lower post-pandemic learning growth, lagging high school graduation rates, and falling college enrollment and readiness. APS has opportunities to use available state funding for effective programs that add days to the year and improve outcomes, particularly for at risk students.
But some teacher and parent concerns remain a barrier. To improve teaching practice, the district could provide more evidence-based professional development on analyzing student data to improve outcomes, collaborating with colleagues in a sustained manner, and better serving the district’s large proportion of students with disabilities.
There are multiple resources available for these purposes, including federal pandemic funding, state funding for at-risk students, and excess cash balances within the district. APS recently strengthened oversight but opportunities remain to improve district practices.
In 2021, a former APS employee and former member of the state legislature [Sheryl Williams Stapleton] came under criminal investigation for procurement violations. [She resigned both her employment with APS and her position with the New Mexico Legislature and the criminal case is still pending.] In response, the district strengthened existing policies and procedures and introduced new ones.
Additional opportunities remain, such as broadening the focus of its internal audit unit and providing more business technical assistance for charter schools. The district was required to strengthen other policies relating to children with disabilities in response to a Public Education Department (PED) corrective action plan.
The report made the following key recommendations to improve the Albuquerque Public Schools:
• Adjust the size of the workforce to its student population;
• Implement K-5 Plus and continue to expand Extended Learning Time Programs, using both state and federal pandemic funds;
• Consider a pay differential or other financial incentives for hard to staff positions in high-needs schools;
• Spend more of budgeted funds on high-quality, sustained professional development that instructs teachers on how to use data to guide instruction; and • Diversify the types of funds internally audited by APS each year.