The Albuquerque Public School board policy and instruction committee unanimously backed a “Seal of Bilingualism-
The state Senate Finance Committee met last week to discuss proposed public education budget cuts. Education Secretary Hanna Skandera and Higher Education Secretary Barbara Damron were both invited to speak before the committee on behalf of state educators, but neither showed. The state Legislature is threatening to cut higher education budgets by up to 5 percent and public schools by up to 7 percent. Some Committee members took offense at the absence of the governor’s Cabinet secretaries for public and higher education, whose refusal to participate forced David Abbey, director of the Legislative Finance Committee, and Rachel Gudgel, director of the Legislative Education Study Committee, to advise on how budget cuts might affect teachers and school districts. Senate Finance Chairman John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, said that time is running out for the Legislature and Governor Susana Martinez to put together a balanced budget before the legislative session ends on March 18.
Last week, state Environment Department officials said that two extraction wells near the site of the Kirtland Air Force Base fuel leak are capturing nearly all of the contaminated groundwater plume. The results of a “plume-capture analysis” were the reason behind the Thursday meeting at the African American Performing Arts Center on the New Mexico Expo grounds. According to officials, the report found that 99.5 percent of the highly toxic ethylene dibromide plume—caused by a leak that was detected in 1999—has been captured by two extraction wells installed at the site for that purpose. A third extraction well was built last month, and a fourth is being rehabilitated by the Air Force. A spokesperson for the Environment Department said that all four wells will be in use by the end of the year. Since June 2015, 152 million gallons of groundwater have been extracted from the site, filtered and discharged.