NMPED to increase oversight of APS’s CTE federal funds following Williams Stapleton indictment

SANTA FE, N.M. – The New Mexico Public Education Department on Tuesday announced new oversight of Albuquerque Public Schools’ use of federal funding for Career and Technical Education.

The announcement comes a day after former state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton was indicted on felony charges of allegedly using the program director position to launder program money for her personal gain.

NMPED Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus listed, in a letter sent Tuesday to Superintendent Scott Elder, four conditions the district must meet before receiving federal CTE funds for the 2021-22 award year:

  • APS must review and update its federal procurement procedures and strengthen controls to ensure better segregation of duties against fraud, waste and abuse.
  • APS must implement the revised policies and procedures and train staff to follow them.
  • APS must engage as an NMPED-approved independent auditor to monitor the implementation of its conflict-of-interest policy and federal procurement procedures in the CTE program.
  • APS has until Oct. 1 to designate a point person to regularly communicate with the NMPED until such time as the conditions are removed.

APS also has until Oct. 15 to submit an accounting by funding source of all payments made to Robotics Management Learning System LLC from fiscal year 2016 through FY 2021.

Since first awarding a no-bid licensed software contract in 2013, APS paid $5.3 million to Robotics. APS employees in 2018 discovered Robotics did not have a website, business address or phone number and company checks were sent to an Albuquerque post office box owned by Williams Stapleton’s son. The indictments accuse Robotics of funneling nearly $954,386 to businesses and nonprofits with ties to Williams Stapleton.