ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Money is tight at Albuquerque Public Schools, but teachers are demanding to know why some top staff at APS got raises and teachers did not.
"If we needed a rally call, I think we just got it this morning," says Pat Halama, executive vice president of Albuquerque Teachers Federation.
Teachers are fired up after learning three associate superintendents got pay hikes back in July at a time when class sizes are increasing and teacher paychecks are not.
"In the last four contract cycles, it was clear money was never going to be on the table because there was no money available or coming from the state,"' Halama says. "So, it has been a hard conversation to have with teachers, ‘Please do more, but we can't pay you more.'"
Superintendent Winston Brooks gave associate superintendents Eddie Soto, Raquel Reedy and Diane Kerschen each a $7,700 raises. Each now makes $125,000 a year.
Brooks says the district is still saving money after cutting top-level academic administrators from six to four, and APS Board of Education President Paula Maes agrees.
She says associate superintendent and assistant superintendent positions were eliminated leaving Soto, Reedy and Kerschen to pick up the slack.
"These three superintendents are taking on about a third of a job and a full other superintendent's job, assistant superintendent. So in whole, the district is saving $107,000," Maes says.
KRQE asked the district where that money went. Spokesman Rigo Chavez says it was put back in the APS coffer to be redistributed in the budget.
Still, teachers say they are going to remember this when it comes time to renegotiate salaries and new positions.
"The real message here is: you do more, you get paid more," Halama says. "We are asking teachers to do more, but that's not part of the conversation, and that needs to be."
The Teachers Federation says this is a great opportunity to get that conversation started with the district and state legislators.
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