Soules Files Bill to Increase N.M. School Funding

Sen. Bill Soules

N.M. Senate News:

Santa Fe—Sen. Bill Soules, D-Dona Ana, has pre-filed Senate Bill 54 for this year’s upcoming session that would dramatically increase the funding for public schools in New Mexico. The bill requests a funding increase of more than $350 million dollars to meet the requirements of the state constitution that requires the Legislature to sufficiently fund public schools.

Based on an independent 2008 study by the American Institute for Research, an independent comprehensive study of the New Mexico public school funding formula showed that New Mexico public schools were underfunded and a budget increase of about 14.5 percent was necessary to bring the funding up to sufficiency.

“Public schools must receive sufficient funding before we are likely to see any substantial improvement in the performance of our schools,” Soules said. “Underfunding limits the ability of districts to meet the needs of second language learners, children living in poverty, rural districts, special education students, teacher retention and recruitment, vocational programs, early childhood programs, class size requirements, and ancillary programs that keep children in school.

“We need to quit pretending that we can improve public education in New Mexico without investing in the schools and children. Education is the business of New Mexico and we must invest in the future by providing sufficient funds for the public schools.”

Soules is an educator by profession and sits on the Legislative Education Study Committee and is vice-chair on Senate Education.