Some Useful Links

*Webcasts of Legislative Hearings and Floor Sessions   *Education Bills Tracked by the Legislative Education Study Committee  *Education Funding Accountability Report

 

 

Legislative Update,February 14, 2018

 

Budget Deal Finalized

 

The General Appropriations Act, House Bill 2 is passed the Senate on 40-2 vote Tuesday.   It will increase state spending by about $249 million over current levels – or roughly 4.1 percent.  The House version was amended by the  the Senate Finance Committee  One of the amendments added $10 million to partially replace school district cash balances taken in last year's solvency legislation. Most public employees have not received a pay raise since 2014; the budget the will provide about $90 million in total compensation increases.  That includes a 2 percent salary increase for rank-and-file state workers and even larger pay bumps for State Police, corrections officers and judicial branch employees.  Teachers would get a 2.5 percent pay raise, and starting teacher pay would go from $34,000 to $36,000 a year.  Minimum pay levels for more experienced teachers would be raised as in Senate Bill 119 (see below).  Other school employees would get a 2% raise.  Another amendment requires that the Governor's merit pay plan be bargained in districts with collective bargaining.  The budget plan also calls for more than 10 percent of state spending — or nearly $643 million — to be set aside in cash reserves.   As it sits now, in addition to the funding for public education, the budget fully funds Medicaid—the health insurance program for low-income kids, seniors, and those with disabilities—and child care assistance.

 

The House voted Tuesday not to concur with an assortment of Senate amendments that provided greater pay increases to police, prison guards and Albuquerque-based prosecutors and more money for state universities.

 

The disagreement appears to hinge on funding for road construction and maintenance. The House allocated $60 million toward roadwork and that Senate amendments would have reduced that to $34 million. A House Senate Conference has resolved a budget standoff between the House and Senate that had delayed approval of a $6.3 billion General Appropriations Act.  The Conference Committee report should shortly be adopted in both houses. The committee of six lawmakers agreed Wednesday afternoon to adjustments in spending on road maintenance, highway restroom upkeep, school district reimbursements and subsidies for police hiring.

 

The committee agreed to $44 million in general fund spending on statewide road maintenance for the coming fiscal year. The state will return $5 million, down from $10 million in the Senate amendments, to public school district accounts, and earmark $4 million toward highway rest stops.

 

Other than the $5 million less for cash balances, school funding remained the same as in the original budget. They will add language encouraging all school districts and charter schools to boost Educational Support Professionals salaries to the same average as teachers.  That would mean an average 2.3% for all employees, not 2.5% for teachers and 2% for other employees.  NEA-New Mexico encouraged the conference committee to make raises equitable for all.

 

This morning the House Education Committee gave a unanomous do-pass recommendation to   Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules,  This measure will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier  1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3:$54,000.   Call all House members to urge support.

 

 

Legislative Update, February 13, 2018

 

Budget Approved by Senate

 

The General Appropriations Act, House Bill 2 passed the Senate on 40-2 vote this afternoon.   It will increase state spending by about $249 million over current levels – or roughly 4.1 percent.  The House version was amemded by the  the Senate Finance Committee  One of the amendments added $10 million to partially replace school district cash balances taken in last year's solvency legislation. Most public employees have not received a pay raise since 2014; the budget  by the will provide about $90 million in total compensation increases.  That includes a 2 percent salary increase for rank-and-file state workers and even larger pay bumps for State Police, corrections officers and judicial branch employees.  Teachers would get a 2.5 percent pay raise, and starting teacher pay would go from $34,000 to $36,000 a year.  Minimum pay levels for more experienced teachers would be raised as in Senate Bill 119 (see below).  Other school employees would get a 2% raise.  another amendment requires taht the Governor's merit pay plan be bargained in districts with collective bargaining.  The budget plan also calls for more than 10 percent of state spending — or nearly $643 million — to be set aside in cash reserves.   As it sits now, in addition to the funding for public education, the budget fully funds Medicaid—the health insurance program for low-income kids, seniors, and those with disabilities—and child care assistance.

 

Tomorrow  the House Education Committee will hear  Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules,  This measure will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.   Call all committee members to support this important change.

 

Legislative Update,  Weekend, February10-11, 2018

 

Awaiting Senate Action

 

       The General Appropriations Act, House Bill 2 is awaiting Senate action.  As passed by the House, it will increase state spending by about $249 million over current levels – or roughly 4.1 percent. The Bill will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee. This committee is debating amendments. Most public employees have not received a pay raise since 2014; the budget passed by the House provides about $90 million in total compensation increases. Teachers would get a 2.5 percent pay raise, and starting teacher pay would go from $34,000 to $36,000 a year.  Minimum pay levels for more experienced teachers would be raised as in Senate Bill 119 (see below). Other school employees would get a 2% raise. We hear this raise may yet be increased in the Senate so that all school employees would get 2 ½%.  More than 10 percent of state spending — or nearly $643 million — would be set aside in cash reserves.  In addition to the funding for public education, the budget fully funds Medicaid—the health insurance program for low-income kids, seniors, and those with disabilities—and child care assistance.

 

A permanent change to teacher minimum salaries is on its way too.  Two bills move us forward:

(1)    Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules,  will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.  This measure received a unanimous do-pass in  the Senate Education Committee  last week and is on its way to Senate Finance Committee.

 

ACTION REQUEST:   Call all committee members to support this important change, and to support efforts to restore $42 million of District cash balances that were raided last year to cover State budget expenses (not education).

 

Salary Bill Defeated in House Education Committee, Senate Bill 119 Still Alive

 

HB 310, was tabled in the House Education Committee, sponsored by Representatives Alonzo Baldonado and Jim Smith. It would have amended the School Personnel Act to increase the statutory minimum teacher salaries and provide for minimum teacher salaries of $38 thousand for level 1 teachers, $44 thousand for level 2 teachers, and $54 thousand for level 3-A teachers and appropriates $71.6 million to fund the increased minimum salaries.  It would provide $5 million in grants for school districts and charter schools to design and implement teacher recruitment initiatives, which though vague and insufficient to address the enormous teacher shortage;  it had language we supported attached to it:  "The department shall distribute the money based upon local needs and shall not consider school grades and the results of the teacher evaluation approved by the New Mexico public education department.

 

Early Childhood Funding In Senate Finance Committee

 

HJR1, the constitutional amendment for Early Childhood Education to receive a payout from the Land Grant Permanent Fund passed on a 7-6 vote this morning in Senate Education Committee.  Next stop, and hopefully not the last, is Senate Finance Committee, where it has yet to be scheduled.  A similar, but smaller in scope, resolution, Senator John Sapien’s SJR 7 “Severance Tax Fund For Early Childhood” has also passed a Committee.  It is uncertain it will be heard in other committees. ACTION REQUEST:  Please call these Committee members to ask for their support for HJR1:

 

Chair John Arthur Smith:  986-4365

Senator Pete Campos:  986-4311

Senator John Sapien:  986-4301

Senator George Munoz: 986-4371

Senator Carlos Cisneros: 986-4362

 

Tobacco Tax Bill Dead

 

Senate Bill 25 has been tabled by the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, when Senator Mary Kay Papen voted with committee Republicans to oppose the bill. The measure was introduced by Senator Howie Morales in the Senate and co-introduced by  Representative Liz Thompson.  SB 25 would have increased the excise tax on cigarettes from $1.66 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $3.16 per pack. The intent was to increase the overall share of general fund appropriations for public schools (which is still declining in HB2- see above).

 

 

Legislative Update, Weekend, February  3-4, 2018

 

NEA-New Mexico Members and Other Education Employees Testify to Joint House Senate Education Committees

 

NEA-New Mexico held a press conference Saturday at the State Capitol to highlight funding needs.  NEA Executive Committee member George Sheridan spoke to a group of members in the Capitol Rotunda.  Follow this link to see the press conference, also attended by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham.  Dozens of Educators spoke to a joint meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees on Saturday, February 3.  Follow this link  to see a video of the meeting.  The testimony was passionate and enlightening to committee members.

 

Ask Senators to Remove or Decrease the Amount in the Budget for the Governor's Merit Pay Plan

 

The budget bill has $5million set aside for the Governor's merit pay plan.  It is not likely that the entire amount can be removed and still get the governor's signature on a final budget package.  However, ask members of the Senate Finance Committee  to move at least $1.5 million of the funding into the above the line funding, the School Equalization Guarantee (SEG). That would fund this bad idea at the same amount as last year. See talking points in yesterday's update below.

 

Senator Howie Morales has, at NEA-NM's request, introduced an amendment to the budget bill moving $1.5 million of the merit pay money into the SEG.  Thank the senator for his efforts.

 

Senator Morales has also introduced Senate Bill 317 which would raise all public employee salaries by 2.5%, including Education Support Professionals.  the measure passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee on a straight party line vote (Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed)  and heads to the Senate Finance Committee  Ask members of the committee to support this needed boost in pay for all school employees!

 

See President Betty Patterson's statement on merit pay at this link.

 

 

Budget Awaiting Senate Action

 

The General Appropriations Act, House Bill 2 is awaiting Senate action.  As passed by the H9use, it will increase state spending by about $249 million over current levels – or roughly 4.1 percent.  The Bill will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee.s   This committee will likely consider amendments for the next few days and possibly consider the bill over the weekend or early next week.  Most public employees have not received a pay raise since 2014; the budget passed by the House would provide about $90 million in total compensation increases.  That includes a 2 percent salary increase for rank-and-file state workers and even larger pay bumps for State Police, corrections officers and judicial branch employees.  Teachers would get a 2.5 percent pay raise, and starting teacher pay would go from $34,000 to $36,000 a year.  Minimum pay levels for more experienced teachers would be raised as in Senate Bill 119 (see below).  Other school employees would get a 2% raise.  The budget plan also calls for more than 10 percent of state spending — or nearly $643 million — to be set aside in cash reserves.   As it sits now, in addition to the funding for public education, the budget fully funds Medicaid—the health insurance program for low-income kids, seniors, and those with disabilities—and child care assistance.

 

Members of Senate Finance Committee will likely make amendments to the budget.  Call all committee member and ask them to support the increased school funding and to consider higher salary increases to help cover increased health insurance costs.

 

We also support a permanent change to teacher minimum salaries.  Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules,  will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.  This measure received a unanimous do-pass in  the Senate Education Committee  last week and is on its way to Senate Finance Committee, Call all committee members to support this important change.

 

 

School Employee Minimum Wage Bill Clears One Hurdle, Not Likely to Survive Senate Finance

 

Senate Bill 57, sponsored by Senator Daniel Ivey-Sotto,  would increase classified school employees minimum wage to $16 per hour beginning in fiscal year 20.  It passed  the Senate Education Committee  on a party-line vote this morning.  The bill next goes to Senate Finance where a $61 million price tag will almost certainly doom it. However, it is subject that must be in the legislative conversation.  Tell Finance Committee members that the lowest paid school employees need a living wage!

 

 

A Couple of Bad Bills to Oppose

 

Two very anti-labor Republican sponsored bills will soon be heard in the Labor and Economic Development CommitteeHouse Bill 189, State Law Over Private Sector Employment Bill  would stop local governments from enacting minimum wage ordinances and will be in committee on Monday, February 5.    House bill 169, Employee Preference Act is a traditional anti-union right-to-work bill and will be in committee on Wednesday, February 7.   The committee meets at 1:30 in Room 315.  Let committee members know that we oppose these bad anti-worker ideas.

 

 

Tobacco Tax to Fund Public Schools May Be in Committee Next Week

 

Senate Bill 25 has been on and then off the schedule of the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.  Right now It looks like it may be on the committee schedule for Wednesday, February 7.  The measure  was introduced by Senator Howie Morales in the Senate and co-introduced by  Representative Liz Thompson      Senate Bill 25 increases the excise tax on cigarettes from $1.66 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $3.16 per pack.  The qualifying tribal cigarette tax is increased from $0.75 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $2.25 per pack. The bill increases the excise tax on other tobacco products from 25 percent of the product value to 76 percent of the product value and includes e-cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products. The Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) estimates that changes in Senate Bill 25 will result in $80.2 million in distributions to the public school fund in FY19. In FY18, general fund appropriations for public schools totaled $2.696 billion, or 44.3 percent of total general fund appropriations. The intent of the legislation is to increase the overall share of general fund appropriations for public schools.  Tobacco use remains the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in our state. An estimated 2,600 New Mexicans die from tobacco-related illnesses each year including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.  Call committee members and other Senators and tell them why this is an important funding measure for public schools and an important measure for health care in New Mexico.

 

 

Legislative Update, February 2, 2018

 

Budget Awaiting Senate Action

 

The General Appropriations Act, House Bill 2 is awaiting Senate action.  As passed by the H9use, it will increase state spending by about $249 million over current levels – or roughly 4.1 percent.  The Bill will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee.    This committee will likely consider amendments for the next few days and possibly consider the bill over the weekend or early next week.  Most public employees have not received a pay raise since 2014; the budget passed by the House would provide about $90 million in total compensation increases.  That includes a 2 percent salary increase for rank-and-file state workers and even larger pay bumps for State Police, corrections officers and judicial branch employees.  Teachers would get a 2.5 percent pay raise, and starting teacher pay would go from $34,000 to $36,000 a year.  Minimum pay levels for more experienced teachers would be raised as in Senate Bill 119 (see below).  Other school employees would get a 2% raise.  The budget plan also calls for more than 10 percent of state spending — or nearly $643 million — to be set aside in cash reserves.   As it sits now, in addition to the funding for public education, the budget fully funds Medicaid—the health insurance program for low-income kids, seniors, and those with disabilities—and child care assistance.

 

Members of Senate Finance Committee will likely make amendments to the budget.  Call all committee member and ask them to support the increased school funding and to consider higher salary increases to help cover increased health insurance costs.

 

We also support a permanent change to teacher minimum salaries.  Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules,  will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.  This measure received a unanimous do-pass in  the Senate Education Committee  last week and is on its way to Senate Finance Committee, Call all committee members to support this important change.

 

 

Ask Senators to Remove or Decrease the Amount in the Budget for the Governor's Merit Pay Plan

 

The budget bill has $5million set aside for the Governor's merit pay plan.  It is not likely that the entire amount can be removed and still get the governor's signature on a final budget package.  However, ask members of the Senate Finance Committee  to move at least $1.5 million of the funding into the above the line funding, the School Equalization Guarantee (SEG). That would fund this bad idea at the same amount as last year. See talking points in yesterday's update below.

 

Senator Howie Morales has, at NEA-NM's request, introduced an amendment to the budget bill moving $1.5 million of the merit pay money into the SEG.  Thank the senator for his efforts.

 

 

School Employee Minimum Wage Bill Clears One Hurdle, Not Likely to Survive Senate Finance

 

Senate Bill 57, sponsored by Senator Daniel Ivey-Sotto,  would increase classified school employees minimum wage to $16 per hour beginning in fiscal year 20.  It passed  the Senate Education Committee  on a party-line vote this morning.  The bill next goes to Senate Finance where a $61 million price tag will almost certainly doom it. However, it is subject that must be in the legislative conversation.  Tell Finance Committee members that the lowest paid school employees need a living wage!

 

 

A Couple of Bad Bills to Oppose

 

Two very anti-labor Republican sponsored bills will soon be heard in the Labor and Economic Development CommitteeHouse Bill 189, State Law Over Private Sector Employment Bill  would stop local governments from enacting minimum wage ordinances and will be in committee on Monday, February 5.    House bill 169, Employee Preference Act is a traditional anti-union right-to-work bill and will be in committee on Wednesday, February 7.   The committee meets at 1:30 in Room 315.  Let committee members know that we oppose these bad anti-worker ideas.

 

 

Tobacco Tax to Fund Public Schools May Be in Committee Next Week

 

Senate Bill 25 has been on and then off the schedule of the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.  Right now It looks like it may be on the committee schedule for Wednesday, February 7.  The measure  was introduced by Senator Howie Morales in the Senate and co-introduced by  Representative Liz Thompson      Senate Bill 25 increases the excise tax on cigarettes from $1.66 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $3.16 per pack.  The qualifying tribal cigarette tax is increased from $0.75 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $2.25 per pack. The bill increases the excise tax on other tobacco products from 25 percent of the product value to 76 percent of the product value and includes e-cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products. The Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) estimates that changes in Senate Bill 25 will result in $80.2 million in distributions to the public school fund in FY19. In FY18, general fund appropriations for public schools totaled $2.696 billion, or 44.3 percent of total general fund appropriations. The intent of the legislation is to increase the overall share of general fund appropriations for public schools.  Tobacco use remains the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in our state. An estimated 2,600 New Mexicans die from tobacco-related illnesses each year including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.  Call committee members and other Senators and tell them why this is an important funding measure for public schools and an important measure for health care in New Mexico.

 

 

Come to Santa Fe Tomorrow

 

A Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Education Committees will be held on Saturday, February 3.  This is a unique opportunity for educators to directly share your stories of the opportunities your students lose when our state fails them with insufficient spending (even this year's miniscule increases won't make up the cumulative effects of underfunding).  The Hearing is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room 307. (but come early to sign-in).  We are pleased to announce our special guest from the NEA Executive Committee Member George Sheridan will join our NEA-NM President Patterson for a press conference at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.  NEA-NM members are invited to attend and receive a breakfast burrito.   Meet in the Capitol Rotunda. Click here to register.

 

 

Legislative Update, February 1, 2018

 

Budget Awaiting Senate Action

 

The House voted 65-3  after less than an hour of debate to pass House Bill 2, the General Appropriations Act, House Bill 2.  It will increase state spending by about $249 million over current levels – or roughly 4.1 percent.  The bill now moves on to the Senate, with just over two weeks left in the ongoing 30-day legislative session.  The Bill will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee.    This committee will likely consider amendments for the next few days and possibly consider the bill over the weekend.  Most public employees have not received a pay raise since 2014; the budget passed by the House would provide about $90 million in total compensation increases.  That includes a 2 percent salary increase for rank-and-file state workers and even larger pay bumps for State Police, corrections officers and judicial branch employees.  Teachers would get a 2.5 percent pay raise, and starting teacher pay would go from $34,000 to $36,000 a year.  Minimum pay levels for more experienced teachers would be raised as in Senate Bill 119 (see below).  Other school employees would get a 2% raise.  The budget plan also calls for more than 10 percent of state spending — or nearly $643 million — to be set aside in cash reserves.   As it sits now, in addition to the funding for public education, the budget fully funds Medicaid—the health insurance program for low-income kids, seniors, and those with disabilities—and child care assistance.

 

Members of Senate Finance Committee will likely make amendments to the budget.  Call all committee member and ask them to support the increased school funding and to consider higher salary increases to help cover increased health insurance costs.

 

We also support a permanent change to teacher minimum salaries.  Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules,  will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.  This measure received a unanimous do-pass in  the Senate Education Committee  last week and is on its way to Senate Finance Committee, Call all committee members to support this important change.

 

 

Ask Senators to Remove or Decrease the Amount in the Budget for the Governor's Merit Pay Plan

 

The budget bill has $5million set aside for the Governor's merit pay plan.  It is not likely that the entire amount can be removed and still get the governor's signature on a final budget package.  However, ask members of the Senate Finance Committee  to move at least $1.5 million of the funding into the above the line funding , the School Equalization Guarantee (SEG). That would fund this bad idea at the same amount as last year.  Here are some talking points:

 

New Mexico’s teachers’ salaries are, on average, below those of teachers in other states and comparable professionals within the state: Average salary (2017) – New Mexico’s average teacher salary is $47,500, and ranks 45th nationally.  (Source: NEA Rankings and Estimates)

 

Average starting salary (2016) – New Mexico’s average starting salary is $34,544, and ranks 36th nationally. The average maximum salary is $60,621, and also ranks 36th (Source: NEA CBMA salary database)

 

EPI "Teaching Penalty" - On average, New Mexico teachers earn 66% of what comparable professionals (with similar education and skills) earn. (Source: Economic Policy Institute, 2016).

 

Instead of implementing expensive and ineffective pay-for-performance pay plans, New Mexico and its school districts should focus on professional pay and pay systems that reward professional growth.

 

A Couple of Bad Bills to Oppose

 

Two very anti-labor Republican sponsored bills will soon be heard in the Labor and Economic Development CommitteeHouse Bill 189, State Law Over Private Sector Employment Bill  would stop local governments from enacting minimum wage ordinances and will be in committee on Monday, February 5.    House bill 169, Employee Preference Act is a traditional anti-union right-to-work bill and will be in committee on Wednesday, February 7.   The committee meets at 1:30 in Room 315.  Let committee members know that we oppose these bad anti-worker ideas!

 

 

Come to Santa Fe Saturday!

 

A Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Education Committees will be held on Saturday, February 3.  This is a unique opportunity for educators to directly share your stories of the opportunities your students lose when our state fails them with insufficient spending (even this year's miniscule increases won't make up the cumulative effects of underfunding).  The Hearing is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room 307. (but come early to sign-in).  We are pleased to announce our special guest from the NEA Executive Committee Member George Sheridan will join our NEA-NM President Patterson for a press conference at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.  NEA-NM members are invited to attend and receive a breakfast burrito.   Meet in the Capitol Rotunda. Click here to register.

 

 

Legislative Update, January 31, 2018

 

Budget Bill Gets Bipartisan Approval

 

The House voted 65-3 today after less than an hour of debate to pass House Bill 2, the General Appropriations Act, House Bill 2,  It will increase state spending by about $249 million over current levels – or roughly 4.1 percent.  The bill now moves on to the Senate, with just over two weeks left in the ongoing 30-day legislative session.  The Bill will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee     This committee will likely consider amendments for the next few days and possibly consider the bill over the weekend.  Most public employees have not received a pay raise since 2014; the budget passed by the House would provide about $90 million in total compensation increases.  That includes a 2 percent salary increase for rank-and-file state workers and even larger pay bumps for State Police, corrections officers and judicial branch employees.  Teachers would get a 2.5 percent pay raise, and starting teacher pay would go from $34,000 to $36,000 a year.  Minimum pay levels for more experienced teachers would be raised as in Senate Bill 119 (see below).  Other school employees would get a 2% raise.The budget plan also calls for more than 10 percent of state spending — or nearly $643 million — to be set aside in cash reserves.   As it sits now, in addition to the funding for public education, the budget fully funds Medicaid—the health insurance program for low-income kids, seniors, and those with disabilities—and child care assistance.

 

Members of Senate Finance Committee will likely make amendments to the budget.  Call all committee member and ask them to support the increased school funding and to consider higher salary increases to help cover increased health insurance costs.

 

We also support a permanent change to teacher minimum salaries.  Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules,  will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.  This measure received a unanimous do-pass in  the Senate Education Committee  last week and is on its way to Senate Finance Committee, Call all committee members to support this important change.

 

Bill to Restore School District Cash Balances Tabled in House Appropriations and Finance Committee

 

House Bill 141, sponsored by Representative James Townsend. was heard in the  House Appropriations and Finance Committee this afternoon.  House Bill 141 appropriates $40.8 million from the general fund to refund reductions to the state equalization guarantee (SEG) distribution in FY17 that were made based on public school cash balances.  This bill contains a one-time $40.8 million general fund appropriation to reverse solvency actions taken in FY17 relating to SEG reductions based on cash balance levels.  Following consensus revenue forecasts showing the state would end FY17 with negative general fund reserves, the Legislature took several actions in the first weeks of the 2017 regular session to ensure the state remained solvent.  Among these actions was Laws 2017, Chapter 3 (Senate Bill 114), which reduced the FY17 SEG distribution to school districts and charter schools by $50 million as a credit for excess FY16 cash balances. The emergency credit was applied proportionately to all school districts and charter schools based on FY16 program cost, excluding school districts that received an emergency supplemental appropriation in FY17 and school districts or charter schools that would see their FY16 audited cash balances fall below 3 percent of FY16 program cost. PED administered the credit by reducing SEG distributions to eligible school districts and charter schools. Due to the department’s interpretation of “audited cash balances,” $40.8 million was the final amount taken from school districts.

 

A do-pass motion failed on a 7-9 vote and the measure was temporarily tabled.  Committee chair Representative Patricia Lundstrum noted that all the available revenue was already in the budget bill and only changes in the budget could fund House bill 141. She noted that perhaps changes could be made in the Senate and said she would look at ideas for some way to move the bill.  We would like to see the extra funding, but we want the Senate to protect the salary and funding levels already achieved in the House!

 

Come to Santa Fe Saturday!

 

A Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Education Committees will be held on Saturday, February 3.  This is a unique opportunity for educators to directly share your stories of the opportunities your students lose when our state fails them with insufficient spending (even this year's miniscule increases won't make up the cumulative effects of underfunding).  The Hearing is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room307.. (but come early to sign-in).  We are pleased to announce our special guest from the NEA Executive Committee Member George Sheridan will join our NEA-NM President Patterson for a press conference at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.  NEA-NM members are invited to attend and receive a breakfast burrito.   Meet in the Capitol Rotunda. Click here to register.

 

 

Legislative Update, January 30, 2018

 

Budget Bill Nearly Ready for House Floor

 

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee created a proposed General Appropriations Act over the weekend.   Based on older projections, the governor had proposed a 1.5 percent increase in pay for state employees and 2 percent for teachers.  The Legislative Finance Committee had proposed a 1 percent raise across the board for school employees and to raise the minimum salaries for teachers. The draft budget approved Saturday calls for a 2 percent raise for state and school employees. Public safety staff such as state police, corrections officers, parole officers and prosecutors would get an additional 4.5 percent. Court staff, social workers and nurses would get an additional 2.5 percent. Teachers would get an extra 0.5 percent,  Follow this link for more details from The Santa Fe New Mexican.   After nearly a decade of deep spending cuts that have devastated our schools, courts, and other essential services, New Mexico needs some investments.  As it sits now, in addition to the funding for public education, the budget fully funds Medicaid—the health insurance program for low-income kids, seniors, and those with disabilities—and child care assistance.

 

We also support a permanent change to teacher minimum salaries.  Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules,  will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.  This measure received a unanimous do-pass in  the Senate Education Committee  Friday and is on its way to Senate Finance Committee, Call all committee members to support this important change.

 

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee has final consideration of the General Appropriations Act, House Bill 2, on its agenda for tomorrow morning.  The changes proposed on Saturday are not yet posted, but will be after final action by the committee and acceptance of the committee report on the House floor.  House action on the bill will likely occur on Wednesday as well.  Let House members that this is a great improvement, but that we can afford to go further in providing sufficient funding for our state's public education system!

 

Less likely to make it all the way through the legislature is House Bill 63, sponsored by Representative James Townsend, which would restore the school district cash balances taken by the legislature as a solvency measure last year.  Restoring these funds would go a long way toward giving school districts much needed financial flexibility.  The measure next goes to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee where it will likely have a tough time.  However, returning these funds to districts will go a long way to providing some financial breathing room for school districts.  Call committee members with the message that school districts gave up reserves to help the state maintain its reserves, now that the state once again has healthy reserves, this money should be returned to public schools!

 

Tobacco Tax to Fund Public Schools Pulled from Committee Calendar

 

Senate Bill 25  will be heard next in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.; it was originally scheduled for tomorrow, but has been removed from the committee schedule.  This measure was introduced by Senator Howie Morales in the Senate and co-introduced by  Representative Liz Thompson      Senate Bill 25 increases the excise tax on cigarettes from $1.66 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $3.16 per pack.  The qualifying tribal cigarette tax is increased from $0.75 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $2.25 per pack. The bill increases the excise tax on other tobacco products from 25 percent of the product value to 76 percent of the product value and includes e-cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products. The Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) estimates that changes in Senate Bill 25 will result in $80.2 million in distributions to the public school fund in FY19. In FY18, general fund appropriations for public schools totaled $2.696 billion, or 44.3 percent of total general fund appropriations. The intent of the legislation is to increase the overall share of general fund appropriations for public schools.  Tobacco use remains the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in our state. An estimated 2,600 New Mexicans die from tobacco-related illnesses each year including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.  Call committee members and other Senators and tell them why this is an important funding measure for public schools and an important measure for health care in New Mexico.

 

Urge members of the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.;to hear and support this important measure before the session runs out of time.

 

Come to Santa Fe February 3 to Talk to Legislators

 

A Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Education Committees will be held on Saturday, February 3.  This is a unique opportunity for educators to directly share your stories of the opportunities your students lose when our state fails them with insufficient spending (even this year's miniscule increases won't make up the cumulative effects of underfunding).  The Hearing is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room t.b.a. (but come early to sign-in).  We are pleased to announce our special guest from the NEA Executive Committee Member George Sheridan will join our NEA-NM President Patterson for a press conference at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.  NEA-NM members are invited to attend and receive a breakfast burrito.   Meet in the Capitol Rotunda. Click here to register.

 

 

Legislative Update, January 29, 2018

 

Budget Picture Improves

 

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee created a proposed General Appropriations Act over the weekend.   Based on older projections, the governor had proposed a 1.5 percent increase in pay for state employees and 2 percent for teachers.  The Legislative Finance Committee had proposed a 1 percent raise across the board for school employees and to raise the minimum salaries for teachers. The draft budget approved Saturday calls for a 2 percent raise for state and school employees. Public safety staff such as state police, corrections officers, parole officers and prosecutors would get an additional 4.5 percent. Court staff, social workers and nurses would get an additional 2.5 percent. Teachers would get an extra 0.5 percent,  Follow this link for more details from The Santa Fe New Mexican.  We also support a permanent change to teacher minimum salaries.  Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules,  will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.  This measure received a unanimous do-pass in  the Senate Education Committee  Friday and ison its way to Senate Finance Committee, Call all committee members to support this important change.   The General Appropriations Act, House Bill 2, is at this link.  The changes proposed on Saturday are not yet posted, but will be before the measure reaches the floor of the House,  likely on Wednesday.  Let House members that this is a great improvement, but that we can afford to go further in providing sufficient funding for our state's public education system!

 

Less likely to make it all the way through the legislature is House Bill 63, sponsored by Representative James Townsend, which would restore the school district cash balances taken by the legislature as a solvency measure last year.  Restoring these funds would go a long way toward giving school districts much needed financial flexibility.  The measure next goes to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee where it will likley have a tough time.  However, returning these funds to districts will go a long way to providing some financial breathing room for school districts.  Call committee members with the message that school districts gave up reserves to help the state maintain its reserves, now that the state once again has healthy reserves, this money should be returned to public schools!

 

Tobacco Tax to Fund Public Schools Will Be in Committee on Wednesday

 

Senate Bill 25  will be heard next in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.  on Wednesday.  This measure was introduced by Senator Howie Morales in the Senate and co-introduced by  Representative Liz Thompson      Senate Bill 25 increases the excise tax on cigarettes from $1.66 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $3.16 per pack.  The qualifying tribal cigarette tax is increased from $0.75 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $2.25 per pack. The bill increases the excise tax on other tobacco products from 25 percent of the product value to 76 percent of the product value and includes e-cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products. The Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) estimates that changes in Senate Bill 25 will result in $80.2 million in distributions to the public school fund in FY19. In FY18, general fund appropriations for public schools totaled $2.696 billion, or 44.3 percent of total general fund appropriations. The intent of the legislation is to increase the overall share of general fund appropriations for public schools.  Tobacco use remains the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in our state. An estimated 2,600 New Mexicans die from tobacco-related illnesses each year including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.  Call committee members and other Senators and tell them why this is an important funding measure for public schools and an important measure for health care in New Mexico.  Conservative Democrats on the committee need to hear from us!  It is especially important that we call Senator Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces, Senator Benny Schendo of Jemez Pueblo, and Senator Clemente Sanchez of Grants.  Please use the links embedded in the names in the previous sentence to get their office phone numbers.  Everyone should call, but calls from constituents are especially important before the Thursday afternoon meeting

 

 

Come to Santa Fe February 3 to Talk to Legislators

 

A Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Education Committees will be held on Saturday, February 3.  This is a unique opportunity for educators to directly share your stories of the opportunities your students lose when our state fails them with insufficient spending (even this year's miniscule increases won't make up the cumulative effects of underfunding).  The Hearing is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room t.b.a. (but come early to sign-in).  We are pleased to announce our special guest from the NEA Executive Committee Member George Sheridan will join our NEA-NM President Patterson for a press conference at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.  NEA-NM members are invited to attend and receive a breakfast burrito.   Meet in the Capitol Rotunda. Click here to register.

 

 

Legislative,Update, Weekend, January 26-28, 2018

 

Bill Increasing Teacher Salary Minimums Passes Senate EducationCommitteeg

 

Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules, received a unanimous do-pass in  the Senate Education Committee  Friday. This measure will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.  This measure moves to the Senate Finance Committee, Call all committee members to support this important change.  The current minimums were placed into law in 2003, and, although, they have been increased through the General Appropriations Act, they have not been increased in permanent law since 2003. Tell Senators that these minimums need to be updated after 15 years to reflect changes in cost of living and complexities of the work.  Remind them that all school employees need salary increases; we want them to increase the proposed average 1.5% to all school employees to at least 3%.

 

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee is Moving Ahead on the General Appropriations Act

 

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee is working publicly and behind closed doors on the House Bill 2, the General Appropriations Act.  Their plan is to have a committee vote on January 31.  We need to continue to contact members of that committee to urge them to maximize public school support.  The new revenue forecast just increased new available revenues by $93.3 million to a total of $292.3 million from the previous forecast of $199 million.  Tell committee members that this new amount should be used to move toward sufficiently funding public education, both public school support and higher education!  Follow this link to see NEA New Mexico's statement on the best use of the new funds.  Please use this document as talking points in contacting members of the  House Appropriations and Finance Committee.  The committee will be working this weekend so immediate contact is needed!

 

Come to Santa Fe February 3 to Talk to Legislators

 

A Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Education Committees will be held on Saturday, February 3.  This is a unique opportunity for educators to directly share your stories of the opportunities your students lose when our state fails them with insufficient spending (even this year's miniscule increases won't make up the cumulative effects of underfunding).  The Hearing is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room t.b.a. (but come early to sign-in).  We are pleased to announce our special guest from the NEA Executive Committee Member George Sheridan will join our NEA-NM President Patterson for a press conference at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.  NEA-NM members are invited to attend (and receive a breakfast burrito, room t.b.a.  Click here to register.

 

 

Legislative Update,  Thursday, January 25, 2018

 

Bill Increasing Teacher Salary Minimums to be Heard in Senate Education Committee Tomorrow Morning

 

Senate Bill 119   sponsored by  Senator Mimi Stewart  and co-sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Bill Soules, will be heard the Senate Education Committee.  This measure will increase the minimum for each licensure tier for teachers as follows: tier 1: $36,000; tier 2: $44,000; and tier 3: $54,000.  Call all committee members to support this important change.  The current minimums were placed into law in 2003, and, although, they have been increased through the General Appropriations Act, they have not been increased in permanent law since 2003. Tell Senators that these minimums need to be updated after 15 years to reflect changes in cost of living and complexities of the work.  Remind them that all school employees need salary increases; we want them to increase the proposed average 1.5% to all school employees to at least 3%.

 

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee is Moving Ahead on the General Appropriations Act

 

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee is working publicly and behind closed doors on the House Bill 2, the General Appropriations Act.  Their plan is to have a committee vote on January 31.  We need to continue to contact members of that committee to urge them to maximize public school support.  The new revenue forecast just increased new available revenues by $93.3 million to a total of $292.3 million from the previous forecast of $199 million.  Tell committee members that this new amount should be used to move toward sufficiently funding public education, both public school support and higher education!

 

Come to Santa Fe February 3 to Talk to Legislators

 

A Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Education Committees will be held on Saturday, February 3.  This is a unique opportunity for educators to directly share your stories of the opportunities your students lose when our state fails them with insufficient spending (even this year's miniscule increases won't make up the cumulative effects of underfunding).  The Hearing is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room t.b.a. (but come early to sign-in).  We are pleased to announce our special guest from the NEA Executive Committee Member George Sheridan will join our NEA-NM President Patterson for a press conference at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.  NEA-NM members are invited to attend (and receive a breakfastburrito,o room t.b.a.  Click here to register.

 

 

Legislative  Update,Wednesday, January 24, 2018

 

Tobacco Tax Bill to Fund Public School Support Moves to Next Committee

 

Senate Bill 25  will received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Education Committee  on a straight party line vote this morning, Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing.  This measure was introduced by Senator Howie Morales in the Senate and co-introduced by  Representative Liz Thompso      Senate Bill 25 increases the excise tax on cigarettes from $1.66 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $3.16 per pack.  The qualifying tribal cigarette tax is increased from $0.75 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $2.25 per pack. The bill increases the excise tax on other tobacco products from 25 percent of the product value to 76 percent of the product value and includes e-cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products. The Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) estimates that changes in Senate Bill 25 will result in $80.2 million in distributions to the public school fund in FY19. In FY18, general fund appropriations for public schools totaled $2.696 billion, or 44.3 percent of total general fund appropriations. The intent of the legislation is to increase the overall share of general fund appropriations for public schools.  Tobacco use remains the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in our state. An estimated 2,600 New Mexicans die from tobacco-related illnesses each year including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.  It will be heard next in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.  Although it is not scheduled yet, call committee members and other Senators and tell them why this is an important funding measure for public schools and an important measure for health care in New Mexico.

 

A Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Education Committees will be held on Saturday, February 3.  This is a unique opportunity for educators to directly share your stories of the opportunities your students lose when our state fails them with insufficient spending (even this year's miniscule increases won't make up the cumulative effects of underfunding).  The Hearing is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room t.b.a. (but come early to sign-in).  We are pleased to announce our special guest from the NEA Executive Committee Member George Sheridan will join our NEA-NM President Patterson for a press conference at 9 a.m.  NEA-NM members are invited to attend (and receive a breakfastburrito),o room t.b.a.  Click here to register.

 

 

Legislative Update,  Tuesday, January 23, 2018

 

Legislative Activity Starts Slowly with a Few Bills in Committee

 

 

The Senate Education Committee meets tomorrow morning.  The committee chair is retired NEA-New Mexico member Senator Bill Soules.  The committee will hear his measure Senate Bill 36 .  While the measure, adding some $375 million dollars to school funding, can't pass this year, it is important to keep reminding legislators and the public how woefully underfunded public schools really are.  Asked Senators to support this important concept and to make real progress on sufficiently funding our public schools.

 

Senator Howie Morales has a bill before the committee that can both improve health outcomes for New Mexicans and increase funding for public  schools.  His Senate Bill 25 increases the excise tax on cigarettes from $1.66 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $3.16 per pack.  The qualifying tribal cigarette tax is increased from $0.75 per pack of 20 cigarettes to $2.25 per pack. The bill increases the excise tax on other tobacco products from 25 percent of the product value to 76 percent of the product value and includes e-cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products. The Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) estimates that changes in Senate Bill 25  will result in $80.2 million in distributions to the public school fund in FY19. In FY18, general fund appropriations for public schools totaled $2.696 billion, or 44.3 percent of total general fund appropriations. The intent of the legislation is to increase the overall share of general fund appropriations for public schools.  Tobacco use remains the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in our state. An estimated 2,600 New Mexicans die from tobacco-related illnesses each year including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.

 

Without strong action to reduce tobacco use, 40,000 New Mexican children alive today will die prematurely from smoking.  Higher tobacco taxes are a win-win-win for states: a health win that reduces smoking and saves lives; a fiscal win as it raises much-needed revenue; and a political win that is popular with the public. A 2015 poll indicated that 81 percent of likely voters support a $1.50-per-pack increase in the state cigarette tax, with the revenue dedicated to increasing funding for health programs and early childhood education. The measure is supported by a coalition comprised of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Federation of Teachers-New Mexico, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the March of Dimes, Health Action New Mexico, National Education Association New Mexico, New Mexico Cancer Center, New Mexico Allied Council on Tobacco, New Mexico Voices for Children, and Keres.  The measure is co-sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative Liz Thompson.  The measure has yet to be scheduled for a hearing in the House.

 

Contact Senate Education Committee members and other legislators and tell them why this is an important funding measure for public schools and an important measure for health care in New Mexico.

 

School Budget Proposals Will Be Heard, But Not Acted Upon, Tomorrow Afternoon

 

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee will hear the public school support proposals of the governor and the Legislative Finance Committee tomorrow afternoon.  While no action will be taken, watching the webcast of this committee will be very informative.  We will begin a more in-depth analysis of the budget proposals later this week.  Follow this link to see webcasts of legislative proceedings.

 

 

Legislative Update, Monday, January 22, 2018

 

House Education Committee Sends Early Childhood Funding Measure to Judiciary Committee

 

This morning the House Education Committee voted on straight party lines to increase funding form the Land Grant Fund by sending a constitutional amendment, HJR 1 to the 2018 ballot.  This amendment would increase funding for public schools for two years, graduallly adding a full one percent for early childhood programs in the third year.  This would mean an additional $175 million for early childhood progams in the public schools or through Native American tribes or Pueblos.   The measure goes to the Judiciary Committee next.  Let members of the committee know that this funding is greatly needed.

 

The Senate Education Committee meets Wednesday morning.  The committee chair is retired NEA-New Mexico member Senator Bill Soules.  The committee will hear his measure Senate Bill 36 .  While the measure, adding some $375 million dollars to school funding, can't pass this year, it is important to keep reminding legislators and the public how woefully underfunded public schools really are.  Asked Senators to support this important concept and to make real progress on sufficiently funding our public schools.

 

Several NEA-New Mexico retired members visited the Capitol today and were recognized on the Senate Floor.  They spent the day going to hearings and talking to legislators.  See our facebook page for more details.

 

On Saturday, February 3, 2018 the New Mexico House and Senate Education Committees will hold an open joint hearing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., just so they can listen directly to what educators across New Mexico are experiencing due to the chronic under-resourcing of our public schools.   The hearing is tentatively scheduled for the chambers of the House of Representatives, but legislative business may take precedence, so a different room may be assigned that day.While the hearing is for all educators, NEA-New Mexico members are asked to focus their testimony on the many opportunities that are lost every day because schools lack sufficient resources to meet all our students’ needs.

 

 

Legislative Update, Thursday, January 18, 2018

 

NEA-NM Members Come to Santa Fe to Meet with Legislators

 

Just over 100 members participated in our all-member Legislative Training and Lobby Day, yesterday.  Then, on to our evening Legislative Reception honoring the hard work of legislators on behalf of our students and public education was one of our best ever!  Our hall was packed full of members mixing it up with legislators and other public officials.

 

Formal invitations had been issued to all legislators and many other public officials, but with nine different events scheduled for legislators on the second night of the session we worried attendance might be low.  Our worrying was for nought as not less than 14 legislators came and shared brief comments with the crowd.  Especially notable among the attendees:  all three members of the Senate leadership (Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth and Senate Whip Mimi Stewart); the Chairs of both the Education Committees (Senator Bill Soules and Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard).   Among the other legislators present were Republican Representatives Jim Smith, Alfonso Baldonado, and Rick Little.  Other Democratic legislators present included Senators Nancy Rodriguez, Howie Morales, Jose Cervantes, George Munoz, Jeff Steinborn. Other Representatives presented included: Bill McCamley, Bealquin "Bill" Gomez, Liz Thomson, Linda Trujillo, Christine Trujillo, and Daymon Ely.

 

"TEACHERS SPEAK TO LEGISLATORS!" is our next (and final) lobby day for this session.  This is on a Saturday so no one need be penalized on their teacher evaluation for participating!  It's scheduled for Saturday, February 3, 2018

 

A Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Education Committees, this is a unique opportunity for educators to directly share your stories of the opportunities your students lose when our state fails them with insufficient spending (even this year's miniscule increases won't make up the cumulative effects of underfunding).  The Hearing is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room t.b.a. (but come early to sign-in).  We are pleased to announce our special guest from the NEAExecutivel CommitteeMember-Georgee Sheridan will join our NEA-NM President Patterson for a press conference at 9 a.m.  NEA-NM members are invited to attend (and receive a breakfast burrito and a sack-lunch), room t.b.a.  Stay tuned for details.

 

 

Legislative Update, Tuesday, January 16, 2018

 

Opening Day

 

The legislature opened with Governor Martinez attacking school employee unions and taking credit for the hard work of New Mexico’s public education employees.  Her state of the state address once again advocated for the failed reforms that she has instituted, not by law, but by rules of the Public Education.

http://www.governor.state.nm.us/uploads/PressRelease/191a415014634aa89604e0b4790e4768/Governor_Susana_Martinez_Delivers_State_of_the_State_Address_5.pdf

 

The legislature also opened with dueling budget proposals.  The Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) is asking to boost funding for at-risk students and for an across the board 1.5% raise for all school employees.   The Governor’s budget seeks to divide school employees by asking for merit pay for a few teachers, a 2% raise for teachers and a 1% raise for other school employees.  Neither of these proposals is adequate, but the LFC’s proposal is at least fair and equitable.

 

First, tell legislators that all school employees deserve a living wage.  Second, tell legislators that schools must be adequately funded.  Tell them that the LFC budget is a good start that must be improved upon and that the Governor’s budget should be a non-start!

 

Follow this link for information about important education legislation endorsed by the Legislative Education Study committee.

https://www.nmlegis.gov/Entity/LESC/Documents/NewsLetter/LESCJan17.pdf

 

Follow this link to sign up for legislative updates by email.

http://capwiz.com/nea/nm/mlm/signup/

 

Watch the update in coming days for NEA-New Mexico positions on important legislative issues and greater detail on the budget proposals.

 

 

 

 

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