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Apr 18, 2019

Stan's Straight Talk April 2019


Colleagues:

Thank you for your continuing leadership!

The 2019 Legislature has finished, and the Governor has acted on all of the legislation that was completed. This was a unique session as it started very quickly with the “Rocket Docket” bills being pushed through in the first weeks of the session and a flurry of activity on behalf of the Legislature. At the end, 46 public school related bills passed and were signed, and an additional 14 Memorials were passed. Within this newsletter is a synopsis of that enacted legislation. Preeminent in these actions were the funding and restructuring of public school programs and funding related to the Martinez-Yazzie Lawsuit, the restructuring of teacher salaries and the increases of salaries of all public school personnel along with an increase in minimum wage.

Significantly, the implementation of substantial funding increases for K-5+ and Extended Learning Time (ELT) set a backdrop of opportunity for each public school in New Mexico to enhance its practice in providing for increased support to students in elementary education as well as extending learning practices for all students, potentially. Each district in New Mexico must determine what is the best fit for their community and their students.  Since both programs are permissive and not mandatory, the pressure is on local districts to find the “best fit.”

K-5+ was funded so that all schools which meet the criteria can fully implement the program if they decide to do so. However, several of the rules create decision points that may be problematic to some districts. This program provides for 25 additional days of learning (generally at the beginning of the school year) for those students in program. The teacher for that cohort is expected to be the service person for both the summer and for the subsequent school year. Early monitoring of this issue seems to show a number of teachers that are hesitant to work the additional 25 days; this creates a quandary for principals and district administrators. Martinez-Yazzie set a target for additional learning opportunities for at-risk students and the K-5+ program design does exactly that. This will likely be an ongoing issue in some districts. The funding methodology for K-5+ has changed and is now funded on a 0.3 factored basis.  Hence, each student that is in program on July 17 will create approximately $1,369 additional to fund the program cost. In a class of 20 that will create a revenue stream of approximately $27,380.

Extended Learning Time (ELT) also is designed to meet the Martinez-Yazzie criteria by providing for three things: 10 additional days (or equivalent hours if coupled with K-5+), after school enrichment and support, and 80 hours of PD for teachers. The interest is to serve the additional learning needs of students and create an environment of support particularly for students at-risk. There is no “cohort” requirement in ELT. However, should a school or district elect to implement ELT, it will require all three parts to be implemented AND calls for an increase of 10 days to the existing instruction time, a 190-day teacher calendar (for five-day school districts) or a 160-day teacher calendar (for four-day school districts), and a minimum of 80 hours of teacher PD during the year. The funding for this component is 0.11 which equates to approximately $502 per student enrolled at that site. For a class of 20 (in comparison to K-5+) it would generate approximately $10,040.

There has been considerable confusion regarding teacher minimum salaries due to different Level 1 numbers in HB5/SB1 and HB2. The final resolution sets the Level 1 minimum salary at $41,000. The calculation for the minimum salary measures is AFTER you have determined the 6% increase upon the current year salaries.  So, the three tiers at minimum are $41,000, $50,000 and $60,000, respectively. There has been other confusion regarding principal salary language. Principals are on a statutory index for salary that is based upon the Level 3 minimum. That starting point is, therefore, $60,000. So the following salaries are the minimums: HS Principal (1.6 factor)- $96,000; HS Assistant Principal (1.25 factor)-$75,000; Middle School Principal (1.4 factor)-$84,000; MS Assistant Principal (1.15 factor)-$69,000; Elementary School Principal (1.2 factor)-$72,000; ES Assistant Principal (1.1 factor)-$66,000. And finally, minimum wage is set at $9.00.

We will continue to report out other impacts of legislation as the year continues. Thanks again for all of your efforts!

Best Regards,
Stan

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