Gov. Bill Richardson said the fiscal 2009 budget he submits to the Legislature this week will include $95,000 for a study by the New Mexico Public Education Department on a plan to split Albuquerque Municipal School District No. 12 into two districts.

Proponents of the plan envision a split along the Rio Grande, with a new district encompassing the west side of Albuquerque and the southern river valley.

The Albuquerque district, the largest in New Mexico with some 90,000 students, said it was not opposed to a split but doubted the proposed new district has a sufficient tax base. The fast-growing area contains 94% of the district’s planned building needs but only 19% of the tax base.

The Albuquerque school district has $214.2 million of outstanding general obligation debt from a total of $306 million of bonds issued since 2000. Moody’s Investors Service rates the GO debt Aa2 and Standard & Poor’s rates it AA.

A bill that failed in the 2006 Legislature would have required districts with more than 35,000 students to develop a plan for splitting into smaller entities.


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