School board members approve budget

By Tony Parra

Portales Schools Finance Director Murphy Quick had Portales school board members place their stamp of approvals on the 2004-05 fiscal budget for the Portales Municipal school district.
All of the members, except for Inez Rodriguez, signed the budget at the end of the meeting. Rodriguez was unable to attend the meeting, and Quick said he will try to get her signature today.
There is a projection of $16,337,820 in operational costs for the budget, which totals $30,690,652. Quick and Portales Schools Superintendent Jim Holloway said there were only minimal changes to the budget since their previous budget meeting.
“There were only a few changes, the only major change was with the energy efficiency program,” Holloway said. “The state had taken away $78,000 to pay for the energy efficiency each year, but they won’t take out that much this year.”
Quick said the state advanced the school district money for the energy efficiency area 10 years ago. He said the school district has been paying back the state for the money given in advance each year. Quick said the school district has made quarterly payments of approximately $19,000, for a total of $78,000 each year.
Quick said the school district officials provided state officials with documentation showing the Portales school district only owes one more quarterly payment to repay the advance. Therefore, the Portales school district has approximately $60,000 freed up for the 2004-05 fiscal budget.
Board members also approved a four-year agreement with Energy Education Inc. out of Wichita Falls, Texas. The company will provide electricity, gas and water services to the district.
School board members also recognized Public utilities of New Mexico Foundation Grant Award winners Mary Murray, Joeli Cathey and Josie Thomas. They were awarded a $2,990.54 grant.
Teachers involved in the grant process said the grant is tied in with the circle of life cycles. It goes to the expense equipment specimens to raise and hatch butterflies and frogs for elementary children in the Portales schools.
Members also recognized Marea Smith, Christine Baca, Diane Maez and Frances Gutierrez for receiving a $2,998 Center of Teaching Excellence Action Research Grant Award. Smith said the grant goes to the a program which helps improve oral language of children. She said it helps through shared reading, among other things.