This last month has been busy with many impacts to our educational system emerging. First, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has become a significant impact to our day-to-day considerations. With more and more reports coming to bear nationally and with the significance it brings to daily practice, we are committing information and articles in this newsletter regarding the virus in an attempt to keep you current. As you are aware, the impact of the COVID-19 Virus has many implications to in-school health protocols, transportation and events, and the delivery of day-to-day education in our schools. To date, New Mexico is a low incidence state. But much like the H1-N1 virus, it is a central theme as we plan towards our late winter practices and our completion of year end activities. We will continue to have information on our website for your review and information. Should you have anything to offer your colleagues as the month continues, please feel free to send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, the New Mexico Legislature has adjourned, and the Governor is reviewing her actions on legislation. We have been working with our partners at the New Mexico School Boards Association to track which bills she signed into law by the deadline. Those actions will be reported out to you.
We are awaiting the Governor’s signature on the General Appropriations Act to finalize that funding. We feel secure that the budget will include a 4% average salary increase for all school employees. This “average language” is important to you as you prepare your salary schedules and contend with the compaction that has been created over the last several years. Instructional materials total appropriation includes $34.5 million in total with $30 million in the SEG base as it was last year. The additional $4.5 million should pass through the IMC fund. Be aware that both instructional materials and at-risk funding will be placed further under the microscope in your budget review as the PED acts to comply with the language in the GAA. A list of successful legislation is within this newsletter along with the final draft spreadsheet of the GAA for your review. We will notify you of any gubernatorial vetoes or pocket vetoes that change any of these.
Third, the PED and NMASBO are preparing for the School Budget Conference scheduled for April 1-3, 2020. Within those preparations are a host of informational releases that will direct your budget building process for the 20/21 school year budget. Many of the process issues will be inclusive of strong pressure by the legislature regarding local budget decision making with salaries, at-risk funding, K-5+ and extended learning, and other compliance efforts directed at the Martinez/Yazzie Lawsuit. This Session continued to focus on these aspects of effort by the state and how it has been managed by local districts. Expect to see continued focus on aligning the local and state efforts.
Finally, the NMCEL organizational structure is being reviewed by a committee of superintendents to determine how best to align the organization of 18 affiliates (or more) of NMCEL with the NMSSA (School Superintendents). It is expected that during this spring that effort will be completed and a recommendation is likely to come to the NMCEL Board by its June retreat regarding restructuring bylaws and processes so that a best aligned model will be adopted that assures all parties are well served and that a tighter alignment of interests will be put in place.
Stay active and stay tuned. You, as our New Mexico leadership, are crucial to our service to New Mexico public school students. We are New Mexico Public Schools!
Best Regards, Stan