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Sep 25, 2018

Stan's Straight Talk September 2018


Colleagues:

The 2018-2019 School Year is underway throughout New Mexico and it looks like an eventful year for our New Mexico Public Schools. Over the summer, a number of things have occurred that will surely affect our future and potentially change the landscape of our journey. We also saw scholarships, awards, and momentum that help us remember the legacy work we are doing every day. The newsletter this month reflects all of this and more. I hope you find it a great read and come back month after month to see what progress is being made. These are items of note that I suggest you consider:  1. The Plaintiffs (Districts) prevailed in the Sufficiency Lawsuit called the “Martinez/Yazzie Matter”; 2. The State projects that the revenue for the general fund in FY 19 is likely to be considerably more than allocated in the General Appropriations Act for FY 19; 3. The NMSSA Work Group that has established basic principles for New Mexico Public Education has begun the final framework for action and funding; 4. NMCEL recognized a talented set of Administrators of the Year during the Summer Conference and Awarded Scholarships to Students who plan on entering the educational workforce soon.

Martinez/Yazzie Sufficiency Ruling:

Judge Singleton issued her much awaited ruling which declares that all students in New Mexico are assured, Constitutionally, a sufficiently supported public education. Her ruling, which reportedly will be appealed by the current Secretary of Education, stipulates that the current public school support funding level fails to meet that standard and it especially fails students who are ELL, Native American, Economically Disadvantaged and Special Needs. She focuses on pre-K and Kindergarten as important times of intervention. The Judge specifically itemizes the shortfall of the PED in implementing the Indian Education Act and the Hispanic Education Act each of whom were enacted through the New Mexico Legislature. The Judge also notes the need to correct several causes for the problems with recruitment and retention of teachers including the current evaluation system and teacher pay. She specifically notes the underfunding of transportation, instructional materials and technology. The ruling requires a plan to be set in place no later than about mid-March, 2019. The Court retains control of the matter until it has been sufficiently corrected. The Ruling is provided in a link to this issue.

FY 19 Revenue vs. Appropriation:

Oil and Gas in New Mexico has rebounded significantly and is likely to produce a significant surplus in the current Fiscal Year. (Perhaps as much as $1.7 B) While this causes a “sigh of relief” on the parts of many in State government and public schools, it creates a significant public policy question about sizing the State Budget, relieving budget shortfalls in the current year (such as transportation and instructional materials), settlement of issues brought forward in the Martinez/Yazzie Ruling, and setting appropriate reserves for the likely future failure of revenue from this source.

The boom and bust cycles of oil and gas and the state’s reliance on that revenue continues to be a hot topic around the Legislature and particularly those in finance leadership positions. What should the state’s roadmap look like for today and into the future? If you look closely, you may find that it is even more difficult to determine best public policy in times of “fat” than in times of “fast”. The assured change in the administration in January, and the Sufficiency Lawsuit may be the top two impacts this legislative session.

NMSSA Education Plan Work Group:

The NMSSA has been working for about six months on a plan to develop an Educational Strategic Plan for New Mexico public schools. There are three basic “principles” within the plan that are now under development and will be presented to the NMSSA Executive Council on October 18. These three principles are categorized as: 1. We must clearly define and balance the roles of state and local educational leadership and increase the role of “local control”; 2. We must have a common vision built on a defined framework that sufficiently provides for solutions; and 3. We must strengthen the support for our public schools and develop collaborations that are focused and sustainable and we ask to be part of the selection of the new Secretary of Education. We will provide you with updates as the plan progresses to completion.

NMCEL Recognitions – Administrators of the year and Scholarship Recipients:

Included, beginning on the front page of this newsletter, are the administrator of the year award recipients and the scholarship recipients that were awarded during our Summer Conference 2018. Please enjoy those “reads”.

The 2018-2019 School Year is assured to prompt many challenges brought by change and pressure on our “practice.” Thank you for your professional presence and practice!

 

Best Regards:

Stan

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