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Editorial: Bad budget realities

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By The Staff

The Las Vegas City Schools board met last week to face a budget reality: The state plans to further cut spending for schools and other agencies.

Now, East officials are mulling over how to deal with the drop in state revenue. They’re even mentioning the possibilities of closing a school and cutting some athletic trips.

In the coming days and weeks, other area school districts and colleges and the state hospital will have to grapple with these cuts. The Albuquerque school district is contemplating more staff reductions.  

Because 90 percent of a school district’s budget is devoted to personnel, it’s likely that most districts will have to lay off people.

The East board wants to take on this unfortunate issue as soon as possible. So they invited our area state lawmakers to find out what’s going on with the budget in Santa Fe.

None of the legislators showed.

The three state lawmakers for the East district are Reps. Richard Vigil, D-Ribera, and Thomas Garcia, D-Ocate and Las Vegas, and Sen. Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas, a former City Schools superintendent.

In an e-mail to the Optic, Campos said he had informed the board’s president that he wouldn’t be able to attend because of prior commitments. But he invited the board to direct questions his way and he’ll try to get answers.

District officials said the other lawmakers informed them beforehand that they wouldn’t be able to attend because of other engagements.

A couple of years ago, the Las Vegas City Council struggled for a time to get local lawmakers to attend a meeting about legislative funding requests.

While our area lawmakers are quick to attend ceremonies, it’s seems to be tougher to interest them in answering hard questions in a public venue.

We urge our lawmakers to strive to meet with local governing bodies. Their insights are especially critical in these budget-cutting days.