During a press conference last week, Mayor Tim Keller told reporters that while ART construction is nearing completion, many issues continue to plague the project.
Chief among them is a problem with the battery life of the system's new buses. Officials planned on the buses being able to run around 275 miles on a single charge. Tests confirmed, however, that the batteries only have a charge that lasts around 180 miles. The company building the buses, Chinese manufacturer BYD, said they are willing to set up charging stations along the route that they will pay for themselves to offset the problem.
The mayor says there are other options available, though, including cutting the BYD contract and looking for a different manufacturer. This could endanger millions of dollars in funding from the federal government, though, and leave the city holding the bill.
The mayor said to expect an interim service utilizing the buses that are currently working as early as the fall.
APS Requests Funds for Failing School
Albuquerque Public Schools is going ahead with an application for funding from the Public Education Department to help Hawthorne Elementary School to “champion choice.”
Hawthorne was one of three public schools in Albuquerque—the others being Los Padillas and Whittier Elementary Schools—which were deemed to require “most rigorous intervention” by the education department earlier this year. The schools were given the option to restructure, champion choice or close their doors. Both Los Padillas and Whittier chose to restructure, but Hawthorne chose to “Champion and Provide Choice.”
Hawthorne is now required to inform parents of other, better-performing schools in the area and facilitate the transference of students to those schools. APS has requested a total of $853,000 from NMPED to help the school with this mission. Most of the requested funds will go toward buying new buses to transport students to alternate schools if they are granted. The budget also requested funding for expos that will offer information on higher-performing elementaries.
Clarkson Sues NMSU Over Termination
Former Trump administration appointee and congressional candidate Gavin Clarkson is suing New Mexico State University, alleging he was wrongfully terminated due to discrimination.
The Albuquerque Journal reports Clarkson filed the lawsuit last week in response to his termination as an associate professor in NMSU’s College of Business in April. He reportedly took a leave of absence from his position to serve in the Interior Department for the Trump administration, which he requested run through 2020.
But Clarkson said his leave of absence was canceled and he was fired from his job following the launch of his campaign for Congress. His lawsuit alleges the school terminated his position because he is a conservative pro-life Christian and a member of the Choctaw tribe, accusing them of discrimination. Clarkson told reporters that he would be amending the complaint to include “retaliatory defamation,” stating that he believed his political beliefs also played a role in his termination.