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Seeking Money for Schools

Seeking Money for Schools

That’s when a state constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2003 sunsets.

Sen. Michael PadillaA South Valley state senator has pre-filed a proposed constitutional amendment that extends an increased draw from the State Land Grant Permanent Fund to address a $120 million annual funding gap starting win 2017.

That’s when a state constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2003 sunsets, meaning the public school system’s annual draw from the $15 million fund rolls back to 2003 levels.

Sen. Michael Padilla, an Albuquerque Democrat, wants to make the increased draw for schools permanent – or at least until New Mexicans vote to change it. The loss of $120 million in 2017 would mean the loss of about 2,000 school teachers, he said.

A distribution of 5.5 percent for public education will not prevent the fund from growing, Padilla said. The fund was established in the New Mexico statehood enabling act for the purpose of providing public education.

“New Mexico ranks 49th in child well-being, we are the worst state for child hunger and New Mexico ranks 50th in reading proficiency,” Padilla said. “The number of schools that received a grade of D or F went up while the number of schools with a grade of A or B went down, so now there are more schools with the grade D or F than schools with the grade A or B. These facts demonstrate that New Mexico cannot afford a $120 million cut to public education.”

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.