2014 NEW MEXICO LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Provided by the Division of Support Services and Community Resources
Mary Lou Cameron, Associate Superintendent SS/CR
with permission of DPS Superintendent Harvielee Moore
This just arrived from NEA Government Relations:
The Senate version of the House General Appropriations Act passed the senate just before midnight.
For the most part the bill kept the best parts of stalled House Bill 2. It increases beginning salaries for each teacher licensure tier by $2,000. It includes a requirement for an "average" 3% salary increase for all school employees and a 6% increase for educational assistants.
That language reads:
"The general fund appropriation to the state equalization guarantee distribution includes sufficient funds to provide a three percent average salary increase for all teachers, other instructional staff and other licensed and unlicensed staff effective the first full pay period after July 1, 2014. This amount does not include and is in addition to salary increases due to licensure advancement pursuant to the School Personnel Act. Prior to the approval of each school district's or charter school's budget, the secretary of public education shall verify that the school district or charter school is providing a three percent average salary increase for all teachers and other licensed school employees and a three percent average salary increase for all unlicensed school employees."
The measure increases funding "above the line" by a small amount, starts the process of returning to statutory class sizes limits within three years, helps small school districts no longer be dependent on emergency funding, pays the district share of insurance, and makes the last installment of the state's commitment to employer share of retirement. There is an item of $7.25 million to the Public Education Department entitled "Teacher and school leader programs and supports for training, preparation, recruitment and retention." Many construe this as an opportunity for the Secretary-designate to create a pilot merit plan; however, a floor amendment limited the PED's spending power to no more that 75% on any one program. Thus, the most that could be expended on such a pilot program would be $5.43 million.
FEBRUARY 18, 2014 – PM Edition!
With only two days until adjournment at noon on Thursday, February 20, expect the flurry of activity to continue as our New Mexico Legislators try to get essential legislation passed by both the House and the Senate. Bills passed must then go to the Governor for her signature in order for the legislation to be enacted. The General Appropriations Bill which funds public education still needs to pass in order to avoid a special session for the purpose of approving the budget for the state.
Status of Bills:
Senate Bill 44, Sen. Gay Kerman, High School Equivalency Credential, has passed both houses. It directs the department [of education] to
issue a [general educational development certificate] high school equivalency credential to any candidate who is at least sixteen years of age and who has successfully completed the [general educational development] high school equivalency tests." It goes to the Governor for her signature to become law.
SB 75, Emergency Medications in School, Marc Moores, requires that By July 1, 2014, has passed both the House and the Senate and requires that the department shall promulgate rules and make recommendations to each school district and governing body of a school for the prevention and treatment of anaphylaxis occurring in schools and for the use of epinephrine, or such other medication as the department deems appropriate, by a person who has received training approved by the department and is authorized to administer epinephrine pursuant to the Emergency Medication in Schools Act. To become law, the governor must sign the bill.
SB 158, Rep. Roch and Ivey-Soto, has passed the House and Senate. The bill amends the general provisions relating to state educational institutions to provide dual credit parity for all high school students; clarifies terms including “dual credit course,” “dual credit program,” and “high school”; and updates language relating to home school registration and language to require an eligible dual credit student be a school-age person
SJM 12, Senator Pat Woods, asks that the public education department be
requested to develop and implement a two-year pilot program to allow two interested school districts to transport students who wish to participate to and from schools of choice outside their respective school districts. This has passed both the House and the Senate. A report will be given to several interim legislative committees before the next legislative session.
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 2, BOARD & SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION, CA, Sen. Padilla proposes an amendment to the Constitution of New Mexico to create a nonpartisan, elected State Board of Education to make education policy and to appoint a qualified Superintendent of Public Instruction to direct the operation of the Public Education Department. This measure has passed Senate Rules and the Senate Education Committee and is now scheduled for action on the Senate Calendar on Tuesday.
HOUSE BILL 2, THE APPROPRIATIONS BILL, including Education Funding,
is still waiting action in the House Appropriations Committee. Currently, the bill has an increase for beginning salaries at each teacher licensure tier of $2,000. a 3% average salary increase for all school employees and an additional 3% increase for educational assistants. Democrat and Republican legislators are still split on money going to the governor for her projects in education reform or sending the money to the districts. Although there is talk of negotiations taking place, no agreement has been announced.
The Senate Finance Committee is working on a version of The Appropriations Bill which includes Education funding. The Governor, responding to a joint rally of NEA-NM and AFT in Santa Fe on Saturday, said that "her team" was working on teacher pay compromises, including an across the board salary increase. This is the first time she has mentioned any across the board increases.
HB 93, ACADEMIC SUCCESS THROUGH REMEDIATION ACT, sponsored by Rep. Mary Helen Garcia and Senator Mary Kay Papen, received a do pass vote in the House. This bill has been known by many as the retention bill. Rep. Garcia is dropped the mandatory retention after hearing hours of testimony from teachers. The bill does strengthen the role of the student assistance team in developing interventions for the student who is not reading at grade level. It is in the Senate Education Committee waiting action so it can move through the Senate before Thursday’s deadline.
SENATE BILL 296, Senator Linda Lopez, has seen no action at this late date. The bill would delay implementation of the Common Core Standards and withdraw the state from the PARCC testing consortium. It would also require public hearings and a fiscal analysis of the new standards before they are brought into effect as well as prohibit the state using assessments not in place before the adoption of the common core standards. SB 296 is waiting for its hearing in the Senate Education Committee.
HOUSE MEMORIAL 7 requests that public school food directors donate excess school meals to be redistributed to hungry and homeless people in New Mexico as decided by a work group of state agencies and nonprofit organizations. It has passed the House and signed by the Governor.
HB 313, STATE BILINGUAL ADVISORY COUNCIL, was introduced by Rep. Rick Miera and is scheduled for a hearing in Senate Rules Committee. If passed, the bill would become part of statue. The "state bilingual advisory council" would be created to advise the secretary of education and the department on the effective implementation of the Bilingual Multicultural Education Act. The council shall consist of fifteen members who have technical knowledge of and expertise in bilingual education. The Advisory Council would provide advice to the PED to (a) strengthen the quality of bilingual multicultural education programs; (b) promote rigorous culturally and linguistically responsive instruction in bilingual multicultural education programs; and (c) support effective classroom practices. The bill still has not been printed or assigned to a committee at this time.
Senate Bill 122, SCHOOL DISTRICT PE REQUIREMENTS, Sen. Brandt and Sen. Harper, has been amended in the House by adding, “LIMITING
CHANGES TO GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS AFTER STUDENTS ENTER NINTH GRADE". “ Once a student has entered ninth grade, the graduation requirements shall not be changed for that student from the requirements specified in the law at the time the student entered ninth grade. It also is amended by adding." a physical education program that meets state content and performance standards or participation in marching band, junior reserve officers' training corps or interscholastic sports sanctioned by the New Mexico activities association. This bill has passed the Senate and the House as amended. It must go back to the floor of the Senate for concurrence by that body before noon on Thursday.
SB 34, STOP OVERTESTING OPT OUT, sponsored by Senator Tim Keller and House member Mimi Stewart, passed the Senate Education Committee on Saturday. This bill allows a student’s parent to submit electronically or in writing to the principal of a public school or a school leader of a charter school attended by the student a request for a waiver effective for the current school year from taking any standards-based assessment that is not factored into the student’s grade point average. The bill is now waiting its hearing on the Senate Floor.
SJR 13, ANNUALLY INCREASING MINIMUM WAGE, CA, sponsored by Sen. Ken Martinez, proposes an amendment to the Constitution of New Mexico to establish a state minimum wage that increases annually at the rate of inflation. [Identical to HJR 9] This measure has passed the House Voters and Elections committee on Tuesday amended by inserting "and shall not be
adjusted upward by more than four percent in any one year as a result of an increase in the cost of living". It will not be considered by the House for passage.
SJR 8 PUBLIC EDUCATION COMMISSION, Sen. Tim Keller and Rep. Mary Helen Garcia, proposes an amendment to the Constitution of New Mexico to establish duties and functions of the Public Education Commission by granting the commission: the sole authority to render a final decision approving or denying an application for the establishment or renewal of a charter for or revoking a charter of a state-chartered charter school; and the sole authority to affirm or revoke the charter of a locally chartered charter school or applicant upon review of a local school board’s decision to grant a new charter or renew an existing charter. This measure is now scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee on February 19.
SB 54 PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING ADEQUACY, Sen. William Soules, appropriates $362 million from the General Fund to the Public Education Department for distribution through the State Equalization Guarantee for expenditure in FY 15 to provide adequate funding for public education in New Mexico based upon the funding increase recommended in the 2008 independent comprehensive study of the New Mexico public school funding formula as adjusted for inflation. This legislation is a symbolic gesture to remind the legislature of the findings of the Funding Formula Task Force Report created in June 2009. The task force stated that public education was underfunded by $362 million. This measure awaits hearing in the Senate Education Committee.
SB 197 SCHOOL TEACHER EVALUATION MORATORIUM, Sen. Sapien, provides a one-year moratorium on the teacher and school leader evaluation system created by the Public Education Department. This measure is still waiting its hearing in the Senate Education Committee.
HB 280 RETURN TO STATUTORY SCHOOL CLASS LOADS, Rep. Stewart, creates a new section of the School Personnel Act to return to statutory individual class and teaching loads over a three-year period; and appropriates $6.0 million from the General Fund to the State Equalization Guarantee distribution for expenditure in FY 15 to support the first year of the three-year phase-in. This bill has passed on the House Floor and awaits a hearing in the Senate Education Committee.
HJR 3, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, sponsored by Representative Jim Trujillo, will keep distribution to public schools from the permanent fund at the current level of 5.5%. The funding level dropped to 5.5% last year form 5.8% and, unless the amendment passes, will drop to 5.0% in 2016. This measure is still stalled in the House Voters and Elections Committee.
Dates related to the 2014 Thirty Day Legislative session:
Tuesday, February 5 Deadline for introduction of Bills
February 20 Session ends (noon)
March 12 Legislation not acted upon by governor receives pocket veto.