New Mexico legislators are reconvening in a special session beginning on Thursday with one primary purpose: balance the budget. As always, NewMexicoKidsCAN will be actively monitoring legislation and its impact on education.
Last week, the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) approved the solvency framework developed by LFC staff. You can view the framework here. Though the Executive Budget has not been published, here is a quick comparison using other publicly reported information:
*chart updated with changes proposed during HAFC and LFC committee hearings on June 17th
The accepted framework avoids any devastating cuts to education and prioritizes funding for our most underserved students, particularly the student groups named in the Yazzie Martinez lawsuit. You can view the proposed changes to the education budget here.
As our legislators reconvene, we continue to voice the need to prioritize funding to close the digital divide and provide meaningful summer learning opportunities for students. Both initiatives were highlighted in the recent LFC report, “Learning Loss Due to COVID-19 Pandemic” which reports that New Mexico students could be up to one year behind when school resumes this fall. We are encouraged by language included in the staff recommendation that prioritizes extended learning by adding flexibility to K-5 plus and requiring districts to justify not participating in the Extended Learning Time Program.
School commences for many students in 55 days. As of now we have no clear plan for reopening schools, no creative solutions for summer programming and no initiatives in place to close the digital divide. We owe our students better and we look forward to working with our elected officials to mitigate the impact of this educational crisis during the special session.
As the special session begins on Thursday, we will work to keep you updated every step of the way.