Bill Investing Millions In Native Students Passes House

House Appropriations and Finance Chair Patricia Lundstrom

HOUSE DEMOCRATS News:

SANTA FE — Today House Bill 4 a bill to provide the equivalent amount of the full federal Impact Aid to schools and school districts that serve Native American students, passed the House floor. Sponsored by House Appropriations and Finance Chair Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup) and Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe), House Bill 4 seeks to address decades of imbalance in the distribution of federal education funding.

Currently, instead of distributing Impact Aid funds to the neediest districts in full, 75 percent of federal Impact Aid funding is credited to the State Equalization Guarantee, a formula used to calculate and administer public education dollars across each school district in the state.

With House Bill 4, an equivalent amount in funding awards will go directly to tribal and other federally impacted  school districts increases by 25 percent every year for three years until the full amount of Impact Aid is received.

“Since 1974, the State of New Mexico has been diverting the Federal government’s financial promises from our native students,” said House Appropriations and Finance Chair Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup). “New Mexico’s most underserved communities deserve commensurate funding and culturally relevant programming to ensure their children’s future successes. This Bill is a significant step towards that responsibility. I am proud to be a part of this effort, which is the culmination of many conversations and meetings with tribal leaders and experts throughout the state.”

“I am very proud to have this bill pass out of the House,” said Rep. Eliseo Alcon (D-Gallup). The need in our tribal schools is great, and if we are to uplift communities in our state, we must support every school with the resources they need to succeed.”

An estimated $65 million a year is diverted away from New Mexico’s tribal schools and school districts. House Bill 4 reroutes those dollars directly to the in-need schools and school districts and allows for 50 percent to be used for capital improvements such as broadband infrastructure and improved classrooms and 50% for culturally relevant programming and supports.

House Bill 4 passed the House floor by a vote of 54-2 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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