Budget A Win For Public Education

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New Mexico budget shows commitment to public schools


New Mexico educators are celebrating their recent success in pushing the state Legislature to support a positive agenda for the state's public schools.


Just days after huge crowds of AFT New Mexico members and their allies packed the state house in Santa Fe for a lively rally (http://www.koat.com/news/new-mexico/albuquerque/Education-rally/24512162), the state Senate joined the House in passing a budget that boosts funding for higher education, funds class-size reduction and increase wages for all education employees, including an additional raise for educational assistants who currently earn poverty wages

Stephanie Ly

"I want to thank our New Mexico Democratic leadership and legislators for their commitment to public education," says AFT New Mexico President Stephanie Ly. "Together, we can reclaim the promise for public education and build a great future for our students and our state."


The budget also includes funds for districts to collaborate with educators to provide additional compensation to attract, train and retain educational professionals. Under the budget plan, school districts and educators, not the Public Education Department, will work together to create pay systems that work for the needs of their schools. The additional funding could cover career ladders, compensation for added credentials, stipends for large class sizes or increases to attract and retain teachers. These indicators and pay scales will be decided at the local level between school districts and educators.


The budget still has to be signed by Republican Gov. Susanna Martinez, who has until March 12 to act. In another setback to Martinez, her top education official, education secretary-designee Hanna Skandera, once again failed to receive a confirmation vote from the state Senate. Skandera, who has served in the position since 2011 despite never having been confirmed, has been widely criticized for her proposed reforms in areas such as merit pay and other increased reliance on high-stakes standardized tests including a teacher evaluation based heavily on students' standardized test scores.