SANTA FE – Friday, Senate Bill 462 passed the New Mexico Legislature. Instead of funding infrastructure projects in their home communities, legislators chose to strengthen public schools’ bottom line statewide after several years of tough budgets.
The bill utilized a complicated transfer of capital outlay funds to the general fund to strengthen classrooms. The bill restores $46 million that was cut from public school cash balances, or ‘reserves’, earlier in the session to address FY ’17 budget solvency. This one-time money replenishes critical funds taken from school districts and charter schools, putting public schools on sounder financial footing.
“Once again, the Senate now comes to the table to give support to schools across the state who were impacted by cuts necessary during the Legislature’s efforts to balance the budget for this fiscal year,” Se. Mimi Stewart said. “In addition to putting forward a budget and revenue package that protects against further school cuts, we have once again put ‘skin in the game’ and given up infrastructure funding to ensure our schools can continue to focus on student needs and quality teaching.
“Our state’s teachers and students have always been at the forefront of our minds. That’s why we fought to save $70 million from the $120 million cuts proposed by Governor Martinez and rejected the 3.5 percent teacher pay cuts she suggested we make. And that’s why we are making this unprecedented move to restore the money taken to keep our schools functioning.”
The legislation will now be considered by Gov. Susana Martinez.