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AFTNM Reacts To Legislative Budget Priorities

on January 9, 2018 - 10:08am
AFT News:
ALBUQUERQUE  American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly and Executive Vice President Kathy Chavez released the following statement: 
“Today, New Mexico Legislative leaders released their draft budget priorities which championed a renewed commitment and prioritization for New Mexico’s public education system and educators at every level.
“The Legislature’s draft budget correctly directs significant, new State revenue to areas which target our youngest learners by increasing funding for CYFD early learning and pre-K, and K3+, increases funding for at-risk students and schools at the local level, and works to restore prior fiscal year sweeps to instructional materials and transportation funding.
“Throughout the last year, New Mexico educational stakeholders have reinforced the need for the State to be more serious about attracting and retaining the best educators for our students, and we believe raising teacher minimum salaries increases our ability to attract both home-grown educators, but also educators from other areas of the country in an effort to fill the State’s hundreds of vacancies. Additionally, the announcement of 1.5% raises for all educational employees – including those in higher education – is a positive first step to recognize the hard work that New Mexico educators perform every day, and helps to ensure our best educators don’t exit the profession. AFT New Mexico, in addition to the 1.5% raises already in the draft budget, will advocate for an additional 1% for the lowest paid educational workers, many of whom work full time in our education system, yet still struggle to make ends meet. 
“This draft budget is a positive step forward after years of Governor Martinez using education funding to punish New Mexico schools and educators by diverting funding to pet projects, but it is only a beginning step in repairing the years of damage done to our schools and profession. We want to thank Legislative leaders for correctly recognizing how important education is for New Mexico’s future, and for meaningfully engaging education stakeholders who offered input during this process.”