Stan's Straight Talk

The 2022 Session of the New Mexico State Legislature has finished and important legislation for public schools in New Mexico has headed to the Governor’s desk. The general themes of those bills fit into three categories: 1. The recruitment and retention of teachers and other educators; 2. Increased instructional time (ELTP/K-5+/K-12+); 3. Increases in Funding for Transportation and Capital Improvements. Key legislation is found in SB1, HB2, HB73, HB13, HB57, HB60, HB119, SB76 and SB140.

Within this newsletter is the final legislative report from our friends at NMSBA. I want to thank both Joe Guillen, Executive Director, and Lilliemae Ortiz, Legislative Liaison, for their partnership and hard work during this session.

High level overview of the effects of this key legislation includes an immediate (last quarter of this fiscal year) 3% disbursement of the last quarter of each public school employee’s salary that also sets a new “base.”  For the new fiscal year (FY23), there is additional compensation of an additional average 4% increase (3% from third quarter and the additional 4% which yields 7%) in compensation minimums for all school personnel. Additionally, the minimum base salary for teachers (in the three tiers) increase to $50,000, $60,000, and $70,000, respectively, commencing with FY23 (July 1, 2023).  And finally, for those hourly compensated individuals in public schools, the minimum hourly rate of pay must meet a $15/hour minimum. To fund these compensation increases, the Legislature has funded the State Equalization Guarantee (SEG) with an additional $267.83 million.

Additionally, funding for teacher mentorship programs, ERB employer increased match, increased health insurance costs, increased elementary physical education, increased fixed costs, and increased instructional materials funding were included in the SEG. All in, the SEG was increased by just under 12% from last year.

ELTP and K-5+ were maintained ($64 million) as optional programs rather than mandatory (as was initially designed into HB2) and an added K-12+ program element ($41 million) was added into the learning environment on an incentive basis. For those employees and schools involving themselves in the K-5+ and ELTP, the legislature provided an additional incentive that adds an additional 3% increase in salary.

HB73 provided for a new provision to the ERB Law allowing for school personnel to lay out 90 days and then return to work at full pay for 36 consecutive or non-consecutive months. This was in response to our legislative platform request for shortening the layout period to 91 days or less. All-in-all, we were very successful in having our 2022 Legislative Platform enacted.

Overall, this was a productive session and I urge you to thank your legislators for their support in enacting this legislation.

Best Regards,