SANTA FE, N.M. – Senate Bill 24: School Reporting on Use of Federal Funds, which would ensure Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds are monitored, well-spent, and aligned toward improving student outcomes, was tabled by the House Education Committee on a 7-6 vote on Friday.
This vote comes just a few days after the bill passed the Senate on a 36-2 vote with strong bipartisan support.
“We need to ensure that the taxpayers of New Mexico receive a return on their investment for our children. As a state, we are spending more on public education than ever before, and this accountability measure will help us see where these federal dollars went, and if they made an impact,” said the bill’s sponsor, Senator Crystal Diamond (R – Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Luna & Sierra).
New Mexico public schools received $1.6 billion in ESSER funds intended to address the impacts of Covid-19. Funds must be spent or encumbered by September 2024. Currently, over $1 billion in funding remains unspent.
“The current publicly available information shows only inputs and not outcomes,” said Amanda Aragon, Executive Director of NewMexicoKidsCAN. She added, “the information required by this bill would help us scale programs that are working and make timely adjustments to programs that are not yielding results. Time is running out and our students are waiting for support we worry may never come.”
The Superintendents Association, the School Boards Association, and the Public Education Department all opposed the bill.
Last year’s National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) revealed New Mexico students are at their lowest point in proficiency in decades and well behind their peers nationally.
The committee hearing may be viewed here, presentation on the bill begins at the 10:25 mark.