SANTA FE – The News Mexico House of Representatives passed two bills Sunday aimed at protecting New Mexico’s public schools.
House Bill 460, “School Management Contracts & Charter Boards,” sponsored by Rep. Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo-21) passed the House with a vote of 34 to 33.
House Bill 392, “Public Education Commission as Independent”, sponsored by Rep. Mary Helen Garcia (D-Dona Ana-34) passed the House with a vote of 37 to 27.
There has been a recent outcry regarding the Public Education Department’s (PED) action to overrule the Public Educations Commission (PEC) decision to deny two out of state, for-profit corporations permits to administer online charter schools.
The action of the PED’s Secretary overruling the PEC, lead to the need to reaffirm the state’s control over public education, which is already clearly stated in the State’s Constitution, which reads public institutions of learning “shall forever remain under the exclusive control of the state.”
Stewart says, “Our State’s Constitution requires our state maintains control of public schools. HB 460 ensures we do not allow out-of-state, for-profit corporations to target New Mexico taxpayer funded public schools.”
Additional legislation has been passed to ensure that the PEC remains independent of the PED. HB 392 removes the PEC’s administrative attachment to PED and seeks to ensure the PEC has the authority to administer its responsibilities to the public school system without interference from the PED.
“Removing the PEC from the control of the PED will benefit public education in New Mexico and locally chartered schools,” says Garcia. “HB 392 gives rule making ability to the PEC and the financial resources it needs to stand alone. This will ensure issues raised within the PEC regarding local charters can be addressed without the Secretary of the PED just overruling them.”