|New Mexico| In a legislative session long on education action, state lawmakers trimmed the fiscal 2010 education budget and approved measures—since signed into law—stiffening the required math credentials for K-8 teachers and tightening financial-audit requirements for districts and charter schools.
The budget signed by Gov. Bill Richardson provides $2.36 billion for K-12 education, down from $2.38 billion in the current fiscal year. The K-12 budget for the coming year includes $164.7 million that the state has approved for education from federal economic-stimulus funds. The total state budget for fiscal 2010 is $5.5 billion.
The math-credentials measure says that all teachers seeking K-8 certification in New Mexico must have taken 9 college credit hours of math rather than 6 credit hours, the number required previously.
In addition, the governor signed into law a bill that enables schools to put student-identification numbers on transcripts, so that the data can be used for longitudinal tracking; and a bill that requires districts to provide 180 school days per year, rather than simply a minimum number of hours of instruction.
The state needed a law that stepped up enforcement for school districts to complete financial audits on time because a quarter of its districts are a year or two behind in submitting audits, state Secretary of Education Veronica Garcia said in an interview. The new law permits the state to reduce funding to districts that are more than 90 days late in submitting audits, she said.
But a bill that would have revamped the education funding formula to give greater weight to high-poverty districts and small districts died in a Senate committee. The bill would have meant an increase of $350 million for K-8 education.
A version of this article appeared in the April 29, 2009 edition of Education Week