New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas sent an email last week to Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education member Analee Maestas demanding that she resign from her position following recent allegations of embezzlement involving a charter school she founded. Balderas' letter says that Maestas is “no longer qualified to hold [her] position as a board member,” and that “appropriate legal actions” would be taken if she didn't step down immediately. The letter mentions reviews by state Auditor Tim Keller that uncovered the misuse of La Promesa Early Learning Center school funds by Maestas' daughter. According to the reviews, Julieanne Maestas—the school's former assistant business manager and Analee Maestas' daughter—allegedly embezzled nearly $700,000 of the school's funds. Analee Maestas' attorney, Marc M. Lowry, said she has no plans to step down.
Study Ranks New Mexico School Systems Among Lowest
According to a new Wallethub study, New Mexico is the eighth worst state to be a teacher. The study attempted to determine the “teacher-friendliest states in the US” by comparing them across two categories: “Opportunity and Competition” and “Academic and Work Environment.” More weight was applied to the first category since low pay and lack of career advancement opportunities are leading factors in causing new teachers to quit their jobs within the first year. The rankings are based on teacher pay, quality of school system, pupil-to-teacher ratio, teacher safety and other standards. The report says that New Mexico's most lingering problem is the quality of its school systems, which were ranked 50th in the nation, only beating Louisiana. The best states for teachers were New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Connecticut. The worst state for teachers was Arizona. The best school systems were in Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Mayor Berry Gives Farewell Address
In his final State of the City address, Mayor Richard Berry told citizens that he was “proud of what we've accomplished.” More than 400 people gathered at Marriott on Louisiana to hear the speech, given at a luncheon hosted by NAIOP—an association of real estate developers. The speech focused mainly on the mayor's accomplishments over the last eight years. According to Berry, the city's economy is growing, as evidenced by the nearly $1.2 billion spent on infrastructure projects in various stages of completion. He also said the job market is improving, noting that Albuquerque has seen 46 straight months of job growth, and has added 25,000 jobs. Berry spoke about the city's rising crime rate and recommended making more resources available for the District Attorney’s Office instead of just hiring more police officers. According to a poll conducted by the Albuquerque Journal, he is leaving office with an approval rating of 34 percent and a disapproval rating of 54 percent. Berry chose not to run for re-election.