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On the table: Education bills in the Senate

January 28, 2011 • Local News

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 Senate bills on the table. More detailed legislation information can be found online at www.nmlegis.gov.

Senate Bill 2: Provides procedures for closing or consolidating school facilities; amends grant assistance applications for a public school capital outlay project; amends grant applications related to the use of “community educational facilities.”

SB 78: Requires school districts to develop bullying prevention policies (by August 2011) and programs (by August 2012).

SB 80: Provides the minimum student membership for a school district. Districts with less than 1,000 students must consolidate.

SB 94: Amends the public school fund so that the remaining balance at the end of each fiscal year will not revert to the general state fund.

SB 113: Creates a “tuition scholarship tax credit” to encourage taxpayers to donate money to education-related organizations.

SB 118: Allows taxpayers to contribute his or her income tax return to the “school program enhancement fund,” which supports the operational costs of education programs in public and charter schools across the state.

SB 120: Creates the “Early Childhood Care and Education Act” and its corresponding council and fund.

SB 123: Appropriates about $1.4 million from the general fund to purchase New Mexico-grown fresh fruits and vegetables for school lunches.

SB 133: Appropriates $5,000 from the general fund to the board of regents of the University of New Mexico to fund a study about creating a university program which would make it easier for students in a bachelor of arts degree program to enroll in dental school to obtain a dental science or dental surgery degree.

SB 136: Called the “Higher Education Capital Outlay Act.” Creates the higher education capital outlay council and fund, which would primarily review and correct all outstanding health, safety and infrastructure deficiencies in schools’ five-year facilities plan and facilities condition assessment. The council may approve allocations from their fund to correct such deficiencies.

SB 138: Appropriates $100,000 from the general fund to the higher education department for the minority math, engineering and science achievement program.

SB 139: Appropriates $50,000 from the general fund to the board of regents of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology for the summer science program.

SB 141: Removes requirement from existing law that the public education department approve school district and charter school independent auditors.

SB 142: Limits state funding for special education program ancillary service providers and diagnostic service personnel.

SB 143: Redefines “ethical misconduct” for public school personnel to include financial malfeasance or misfeasance.

SB 144: Adds a new section of the public school code that requires school districts and charter schools to have free breakfast programs. Also amends the public school code to allow school breakfast service during instructional time.

SB 145: Clarifies the school year and length of school day so that students in kindergarten will be in school for a minimum of 450 hours per year (half-day programs) or 990 hours per year (full-day programs); grades one through six, 990 hours per year; grades seven through 12, 1,080 hours per year. Excludes lunch time.

SB 167: Provides that any state money given to pre-kindergarten programs will be divided equally between the public education department and the Children, Youth and Families department.

SB 173: Places a moratorium on educational sites or buildings at state public post-secondary institutions.

SB 193: Provides new guidelines and amendments for schools’ five-year facilities master plans.

SB 202: Allows alternative curricular plans with classes staffed by student teachers.

SB 203: Requires licensure of school business officials.

emiller@roswell-record.com

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