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 Mar 16 - 22, 2017 
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Newscity

By Joshua Lee
News City
Robert Maestas

APS Recognizes Bilingual Graduates

The Albuquerque Public School board policy and instruction committee unanimously backed a “Seal of Bilingualism-Biliteracy” last week that will appear on the diplomas of high school students who proficiently speak two or more languages. The designation was introduced by the New Mexico Public Education Department in 2015. Graduating seniors who are fluent in Spanish, Native American languages, French or German are eligible to receive the seal, which was designed by Gadsden High School student Edwin Torres. Students who wish to receive the seal must successfully complete state assessments in their language of choice, perform written and oral presentations, and meet a minimum GPA in their language courses. A proficiency assessment designed in cooperation with Native tribes will be used for those speaking tribal languages. APS was already offering its own bilingual seals, but they were limited to only Spanish and Native languages. Rio Rancho Public Schools, which approved the state seal in 2015, offers Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Native American languages, French and German.

Education Secretaries Absent For Budget Talks

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.

Extraction Wells Working On Kirtland Leak

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.

 
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