Lawmakers across the state introduced about 40 education-related bills after the Legislature convened in Santa Fe last week. Issues range from school lunch nutrition, grade promotions and moratoriums on building new schools. Here is a breakdown of House bills on the table. A list of Senate bills will run in tomorrowâ€™s paper. More detailed legislation information can be found online at www.nmlegis.gov.
House Bill 3: Known as the â€œEducation Appropriation Act.â€â€ˆProposes education budget for fiscal year 2011-2012. Allocates about $2.22 billion for state equalization guarantee, which is the primary funding source for school district operations.
HB 21:â€ˆLimits grade promotions. If a student is not reading proficient by third grade, the student will not be allowed to graduate to the fourth grade unless the student passes proficiency tests before the start of the fourth-grade year. No parental waiver allowed. Same goes for seventh-grade students as they graduate to eighth grade.
HB 47: Allows school districts to keep their cash balances for emergency or operational expenditures.
HB 62: Extends the time for full-time students seeking higher education to apply for a legislative lottery scholarship.
HB 70: Threatens to cut off funding for public college education programs that do not instruct aspiring teachers how to teach reading based on research and the science of reading. This is in order to ensure beginning teachers are proficient in teaching reading.
HB 73:â€ˆRequires early allocation of K-3 plus pilot project funds each year if money is available.
HB 74:â€ˆRequires that teachers applying for their elementary license in New Mexico be knowledgeable of the science of teaching reading.
HB 76: Proposes spending $20,000 to create a task force that will examine the public school transportation system in New Mexico.
HB 86:â€ˆExpands the power of local school boards by giving them the final say in firing school employees. Board would approve or disapprove termination of certified school personnel and employees upon the superintendentâ€™s recommendation.
HB 91:â€ˆTransfers money from various state funds and accounts into the state general fund, in order for the Legislative Finance Committee to meet appropriations.
HB 92:â€ˆExtends tuition assistance to tribal colleges under the New Mexico Lottery Act. Students attending tribal colleges may receive lottery tuition scholarships.
HB 95:â€ˆAdds the school budget and finance division to the umbrella of the public education department of the executive branch.
HB 96: Allows certain multi-term education-related testing services contracts to extend beyond four years.
HB 97:â€ˆAdjusts the requirements for a public school to reopen as a charter school.
HB 100: Bipartisan version of HB 21. Endorsed by the Legislative Education Study Committee and introduced by local lawmaker Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, and Sen. Mary Jane H. Garcia, D-Dona Ana.
HB 113:â€ˆAmends the Public School Capital Improvements Act and the Public School Buildings Act to require charter schools to report anticipated and actual expenditures of distributions made pursuant to those acts.
HB 114:â€ˆIssues a new Albuquerque public schools registration plate for cars.
HB 115: If a school fails to make adequate yearly progress in its school improvement plans for three consecutive school years, a local school board can determine if the schoolâ€™s teachers may be hired as tutors for the teacherâ€™s own students. Tutoring services must be consistent with school curriculum, as determined by the school district or charter school.
HB 120:â€ˆPlaces a moratorium on new schools and buildings. Between 2011 and 2017, no new public or charter schools may be constructed or opened unless approved and funded prior to Jan. 2011, or unless approved by the public school capital outlay council. Does not affect repairs and renovations of existing buildings.
House Joint Memorial 11: Allows stakeholders (the public education department, office of education accountability, etc.) to examine the possibility of consolidating certain business services for small school districts, providing support services to small school districts through a regional system and creating pilot programs to test such proposals. Findings to be presented to the Legislative Education Study Committee by Halloween, 2011.