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2018 Legislative Outcomes

Sine Die! That is the last motion of each Legislature. It is the motion that declares all actions completed and ends the proceedings. Thursday, February, 16, 2018, that was uttered in the NM State Senate and NM State House. And so it was done (pending the Governor’s actions). So, what was accomplished?

General Appropriations Act (GAA):

2.4% increase in public school funding including minimum teacher salaries in each of the three tiers increased by $2,000 each. Also, an increase of teachers’ salaries by 2.5% and all other school employees’ salaries up an average 2%. Additionally, the bill includes and additional allocation through equalization of $10 million in June and an additional $5 million in August (if general fund projections exceed 10% in reserves). Additionally, the at-risk index will be increased in the first of three steps over the next three years. Finally, language grandfathered four-day weeks for all districts who currently have four-day weeks. It did, however, freeze any new four-day week calendars for districts and charters for the FY 19 year.

HB 48: This legislation requires the PED to use prior year data for determination of distribution on SB9 match and other capital outlay distributions that are calculated on student enrollment.

HB 98: This controversial bill changes election day to schools to be in November in odd numbered years for nonpartisan elections; providing that certain ballot measures that are held at other times other than local elections only be conducted by mailed ballot; repealing the school election law, the mail ballot election act and the municipal election code. We will be seeking a veto on this act.

HB 188: Phase in of Teacher Cost Index amends the School Finance Act to phase-in a new Teacher Cost Index. The phase-in of the TCI is funded in the GAA and has a save harmless provision for FY 19.

SB 30: Changes the funding formula for the State Match for the PSCOC funds.

SB 97: Military spouse teacher licensure is expedited for service member spouses allowing districts to hire them as licensed teachers.

SB 119: This is the enabling legislation to the three-tier increase in the GAA which increases each of the three tier starting salary thresholds by $2,000.

SB 157: Companion bill to HB 188.

SB 239: School Capital Outlay for Security. This bill allows for the expenditure of PSCOC funds for security systems and their repairs, renovations.

SJM 16: Directs the PED to study school meal funding and identify the availability of additional federal programs to improve school meals, student health and training. Also provides for a study to increase the applications for funding from the federal school lunch program that could affect school lunch debt.

As you can see, the public schools in New Mexico will receive more funds from the State for FY 19 (2.3%) and will likely receive some return of funds for the cash sweep of FY 18 (about 12% of the sweep.)

Implications of Actions

The final actions by the Governor on the GAA will mean that while districts may receive up to $10 million more in the SEG in this fiscal year, her veto of the language that would return up to $5 million of cash sweeps will not occur
As you will see in the included line item documents, the Governor also vetoed the language that would have removed size adjustment funding for several of the alternative and early college high schools. This will, apparently keep funding in place for those approved to date.
The Governor also vetoed language in the GAA that addressed Charter School Transportation, effectively keeping the fund combined.

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