The Gadsden Independent School District, the third largest school district in the state, will apparently not have to choose between laying off 98 person or forcing everyone to take unpaid leave. Those were the options presented last week by school officials to employees of the district facing a $3.9 million shortfall after the district failed to comply with legal obligations to conduct annual audits and fell in arrears. Employees were allowed to vote on these options and the results were to be announced this week.
Now it appears the state will make up the shortfall by using funds left over from the construction of Chaparral High School, according to a story by Diana Alba in the Las Cruces Sun News today. GISD school superintendent Cynthia Nava, also a state senator, had earlier proposed going to the state legislature for the funds.
Part of the district's initial proposed solution to the shortfall included accepting a gift of $1 million from Sunland Park casino owner Stan Fulton, who has opposed putting a casino in Anthony. Fulton has made many donations in the region in recent years, largely for educational projects.
This bailout plan may become controversial, as other school districts may begin asking how state officials were able to find the legal authority to transfer capital outlay funds designated for other purposes and seek, perhaps, to do the same.