The leadership of our public schools in New Mexico is one family and knitted together in many ways. Since the last Straight Talk, we have been reminded of that in several instances, the first of which is the tragic loss of our colleague and Superintendent of Schools for the Las Cruces Public Schools, Dr. Karen Trujillo. When tragedy strikes our public school leadership family, we take a moment to reminisce and to recognize the treasure of life. We stand to support the Las Cruces District and recognize Karen and her amazing life and contributions to New Mexico education. We will miss this Champion of Children, rest in peace, friend.
We are also reminded that we remain a family, closely knit and gaining momentum on this impactful and tragic health emergency called COVID-19. I want to recognize the resilience that every district in New Mexico has shown in navigating the “windblown desert” that we have experienced this last 12 months. I continue to appreciate the resolve that each of you have shown in fully engaging yourself in our mission of assuring our children are able to weather this storm and be supported in their learning. That landscape is very different from district to district, but the resolve to find solutions for our children is universal. Many of you have now moved to hybrid instruction and many have even found a way to begin engaging in student activities such as athletics. We are all pulling forward to reach “normal” and I am certain we will get there, albeit with a few bumps and bruises.
We are reminded that our state’s economy is still on a rollercoaster as oil and gas revenues have moved around from a low of $40 per barrel to over $62 per barrel. This, along with governmental regulations and decisions at the state and national levels will likely continue to press in on our state’s economy for the foreseeable future. Our retail and restaurant industries have been significantly suppressed but may be seeing the light of day, and our gross receipts income has, actually, seen a good uptick.
Finally, our state Legislature is likely to be providing a 6% increase in funding of our public schools over the final funding levels we experienced this year. When coupled with the three Federal Stimulus Packages, we are likely to see a total infusion of more than $1.4 billion into our public schools from 2020-2025. The future is better than we imagined last March.
My thanks to each of you for your leadership and your service to New Mexico.