Portales school business manager relies on experience as comptroller

Alisa Boswell

New Portales Municipal Schools business manager Sarah Marquez is no stranger to financing and thinks that may be a bonus with current New Mexico state budget cuts in the education system.

Portales Municipal Schools recently replaced Finance Director Carol Kriegshauser with Marquez, who has worked with the district for five years and was previously the comptroller.

Marquez said she worked closely with the previous finance director in preparation for eventually taking over the position.

“That’s something we do really well here is cross train people for other positions in case a hole does need to be filled,” Marquez said. “I’ve jumped in with both feet and everything is going very well.”

Marquez, who will work as business manager for a two-year transitioning period before earning the title of finance director, said she had to fill the position sooner than expected but feels well prepared nonetheless.

“With all the budget cuts around the state, we’re really lucky and grateful we haven’t had to do drastic budget cuts,” Marquez said. “My ultimate goal is just to make sure this is a streamlined process and to make sure that Portales as a district is the best district in the state.”

Marquez, who officially began her new position on June 27, said she will handle and maintain the school district’s budget in the same manner as Kriegshauser, so no major changes will be made to next year’s budget.

She said the 2011-12 school year operational budget, which was recently approved, is in the same range as the previous year’s at $22,849,500 with about 85 percent paying faculty salaries while the other 15 percent pays for school supplies and utilities, much as last year.

“We want to limit budget cuts in the classroom as much as possible and we have been able to do that,” Marquez said. “Traditionally, Portales Schools is a financially conservative district and it is my goal to continue that tradition.”

Along with her five years experience with the district, Marquez’s qualifications for the position are two bachelor’s degrees and an associate degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting. She said she also recently earned her license in business administration.

Portales Municipal School Superintendent Randy Fowler said he feel’s very confident in Marquez abilities with her new role as business manager and believes she will operate school finances smoothly.

“She’s very sharp and very intelligent and I think she’ll do a great job as the business manager,” Fowler said.