Education Moonshot and Measures to Strengthen Education Signed Into Law

Education Moonshot and Measures to Strengthen Education Signed Into Law

Santa Fe, NM – Today, Governor Lujan Grisham signed a package of education measures from the House of Representatives into law. These measures, now signed into law, will strengthen education by fully funding our public schools, expanding community school and early education programs, making our schools safer, and making higher education more affordable.

The Education Moonshot, House Bill 5 – sponsored by House Floor Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, House Appropriation and Finance Committee Chairwoman Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, Rep. Christine Trujillo, House Education Committee Chairman Rep. G. Andres Romero, and House Appropriation and Finance Committee Vice Chairman Roberto "Bobby" J. Gonzales – amends the Public School Code to make changes to the public school funding formula. The general fund appropriation for funding public education is $3.25 billion, an increase of $449 million or 16% over FY 19. The Education Moonshot also creates a public education reform fund to address issues in response to the recent court decision in the consolidated Yazzie v. State of New Mexico and Martinez v. State of New Mexico cases. The measure also lengthens the rural and small school size adjustment phase outs and addresses the age cap.

"Today, we have shown the people of our state that our children and teachers are truly our first priority. This year, we were tasked with the awesome responsibility of lifting an entire generation of New Mexico’s children from a lifetime of poverty,” said House Floor Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque). “Our students, teachers, and schools cannot afford to wait - this investment is truly the moonshot that public education needs to begin to address not only the needs of our students but also the needs of our teachers. With Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's support, we have now ensured that we are appropriately funding our Public Education System and that we address the findings of the Yazzie/Martinez case. We must keep in mind though that this is not a one-time deal, this is truly the beginning of long term investments and we will continue to work with Governor Lujan Grisham to ensure that our kids and teachers have the support they need to succeed."

In addition to signing the Education Moonshot into law, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham also signed an additional quartet of education measures that will strengthen public education, expand programs, lower higher education costs, and make our schools safer.

House Bill 129, The School Security Personnel and Deadly Weapons Act, sponsored by Rep. Linda Trujillo (D-Santa Fe), will bring more safety to our public schools. Currently, “school security personnel”, are permitted to carry weapons on campus. The lack of a definition for that term created a loophole through which a superintendent could appoint anyone to serve as school security, who would thus be exempted from the weapons prohibition in schools. This measure closes this loophole by permitting only school boards and governing authorities to decide who may carry firearms on their school premises – in an open meeting – rather than leaving it up to individual superintendents. Decisions made regarding this issue are to be made formal policies of the respective school boards and governing bodies.

House Bill 447, The Track Children Between School & CYFD Act, sponsored by Rep. Linda Trujillo (D-Santa Fe) and Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), will develop a new joint system to ensure that students in public schools that interact with the Children Youth and Family Department (CYFD) are receiving the appropriate support they need. This system will allow CYFD and Public Education Department (PED) to track children under the age of 18 who “move between public schools and [CYFD] services. PED and CYFD will collaborate to develop a tracking system that will be used by PED and CYFD. The measure also requires that a taskforce be established for the systems development. Both secretaries of PED and CYFD will appoint members to this taskforce that will consist of representatives from PED and CYFD as well as social workers, children’s court judges, juvenile probation officers, and parole personnel.

House Bill 275, The College of Education Affordability Act, sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Debra Sariñana (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Raymundo Lara (D-Chamberino), Rep. Joanne Ferrary (D-Las Cruces), and Rep. Natalie Figueroa (D-Albuqeruque) will prioritize loan repayment for teachers with a degree or endorsed in early childhood education, special education, bilingual education, STEM, and career technical education, as well as prioritizing loan repayments for minority teachers. The bill would create a new scholarship program administered by the Higher Education Department (HED) for prospective teachers.  The bill will also require HED to provide funds to public post-secondary institutions to award need-based scholarships that fund living expenses, tuition, fees, books, and course supplies for students enrolled or enrolling in an educator preparation program in New Mexico.

House Bill 589, The Community School and Early Childhood Pre-K Act, sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Debra Sariñana (D-Albuquerque), and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque) will expand the definition and purpose of The Community Schools Act by allowing early childhood and voluntary pre-kindergarten programs. The bill also requires the hiring of a community school coordinator who will implement the community schools framework through the establishment of partnerships that will provide services to students including health, dental, vision and other services.