By Eric Butler: PNT staff writer
When longtime employee Trina Lujan retired recently, Portales Municipal Schools found the assets to fill her shoes already in the building.
And, with budget cuts, the school system had ample motivation to replace Lujan with someone already on staff.
Lujan, a 36-year employee was the schools’ director of Federal Programs and Bilingual Education. Her responsibilities will be taken over by Priscilla Hernandez, already serving as the Director of Education as well as holding the additional title of Assistant Superintendent.
“She’s had experience as a federal programs director in a previous district (Muleshoe) she worked in, so she’s comfortable with federal laws and statutes,” said Portales Superintendent Randy Fowler.
“Our budget for the school year is about $820,000 less than what we had last year, so we’ve been trying to cover that through attrition,” Fowler added. “When people have retired or resigned, we have tried not to replace. There’s been times when we’ve had to, but for the most part that’s how we’ve kept our budget in line for the school year.”
Hernandez retired once from the Portales school system, when she was the principal at Steiner Elementary, before taking a similar role in Muleshoe. Hernandez lived in Portales while working in Muleshoe and Clovis for three years before returning to the Portales Municipal Schools system in 2003.
“At this time, I think it’s the best transition for the district,” said Hernandez, who now has 34 years of longevity in Portales. “I had experience with Title One (federal programs) when I went to Texas.”