Monday News Roundup: 15 NM Teachers Get Stipends For Transfers

Nov 18, 2013

State: 15 NM Teachers Get Stipends For Transfers - Associated Press and The Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says the state is "off to a good start" with 15 teachers each approved to receive a $5,000 stipend for transferring from a top-graded school to a low-graded one.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the teachers worked for the Las Cruces, Taos, Las Vegas City, Espanola, Estancia and Gallup school districts.

Teachers qualifying for stipends must have worked full-time at schools with A or B grades last year and they must now teach full-time at schools with D or F grades. And they have to stay at the D-F school through the 2014-2015 school year.

The state began the program in September but Skandera says all the teachers receiving the stipends had transferred before the announcement.

Pay Continues For Employees During Bankruptcy Case - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

A federal judge has ruled that employees of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup can continue to be paid and receive benefits during bankruptcy protection proceedings.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a Bankruptcy Court judge issued the order Friday during a hearing on the diocese's filing last week for Chapter 11 reorganization.

The diocese had announced in September that it planned to file in bankruptcy court because of mounting claims of clergy sex abuse.

The diocese includes parishes in six counties in New Mexico, three counties in Arizona and seven American Indian reservations.

Diocese attorney Susan Boswell says 105 people have been identified who may file claims in the case.

Claimants attorney James Stang says fairness, justice and healing are issues in the case along with money.

Gov. Martinez To Attend GOP Meeting In Arizona - Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez plans to travel to Arizona this week for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association.

Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey said the governor leaves Tuesday for Phoenix and will attend a fundraiser that afternoon to benefit the Arizona Republican Party.

The meeting of Republican governors ends Thursday, but McCleskey said the governor may stay longer to spend time with her husband, Chuck Franco, and his seriously ill aunt, who lives in Phoenix.

The governors' group is paying for Martinez's travel. She serves on the executive committee of the organization, which helps elect GOP governors. The RGA was the top contributor to Martinez's 2010 campaign, giving about $1.3 million.

A new RGA chairman will be elected at the meeting.

NM Food Banks Brace For More Demand - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

With food stamp reductions set to kick in this month, New Mexico's food banks and other organizations are bracing for even more requests over the holiday season.

Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, total $5 billion nationally. Federal officials say through next September, the cuts will mean a loss of $47 million in money for food going to 442,000 New Mexicans.

To make up for that, charities say they would have to double their efforts.

Sherry Hooper is the executive director of The Food Depot, which provides food to agencies in nine northern counties. She tells the Albuquerque Journal that food pantries are already stretched thin.

The Food for Santa Fe pantry has already reduced from 900 to 600 the bags of groceries it distributes weekly.

Bureau Releases Letters In NM Embezzlement Case - Associated Press The Farmington Daily Times

The Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau has released a form letter that was sent to people believed to have benefited from an embezzlement scandal involving the bureau's now-dead former director.

The bureau mailed the letters in early August as an effort to recover money from those who may have unknowingly benefited. It assured them their names would not be made public.

The letter was obtained by The Daily Times through a public records request. The recipients' names and addresses were blacked out.

The newspaper reports that so far, the bureau's campaign has netted $1,300 from a single donor.

The bureau's former director, Debbie Dusenberry, killed herself in Arizona last year. She was accused of embezzling more than $480,000 from the bureau between 2006 and 2012.