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New Mexico Education Official Seeks $6M Budget Increase | New Mexico News

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By CEDAR ATTANASIO, Associated Press / Report for America

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Public Education Department is asking state lawmakers for a $6.7 million funds improve, citing the necessity to tackle an ongoing lawsuit that facilities on accusations that the state is failing to fulfill constitutional obligations to supply important instructional alternatives to all college students.

State Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus is predicted to launch an motion plan subsequent month that will tackle components of the authorized problem. Nearly $5 million of the funds improve would fund compliance with state court docket orders associated to the lawsuit.

Most legislative funding for training, round $3 billion every year, goes immediately to high school districts. Additional funding comes from the state’s massive endowment fund, which has grown in current a long time thanks to grease royalties and market investments.

The Public Education Department additionally oversees the distribution of federal funds, together with $1 billion this yr in pandemic aid. Steinhaus advised members of the Legislative Finance Committee that the most important want is employees to assist with the administration of the funds.

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His request to spice up the company’s funds from $14.5 million to $21 million would come with the hiring of a minimum of 33 workers.

“I realize that’s a large request,” he advised legislators, including he believes it’s the “bare minimum.”

Legislators requested Steinhaus why the division desires cash for extra positions when round 1 / 4 of the funded positions within the division are unfilled.

“You have 59 positions that you’re funding for that are not filled and now you’re wanting 33 more and I just guess my question is why?” stated Rep. Candie Sweetser, a Democrat from the state’s rural southwest.

Steinhaus stated he had the identical query when he turned training secretary three months in the past. He stated he has crammed staffing roles within the hiring division of his company and has dozens of interviews being arrange.

He insisted that he wants the employees to observe a rising set of state and federal applications and funds. “And so I am confident that I can build a team of people with that extra funding that can meet those requirements.”

One member of the Legislature questioned the necessity for a $102,000-per yr place listed within the funds as an “equity specialist.”

“What’s a precedence in my district is much less administrative overhead and extra licensed personnel within the classroom,” stated Rep. Phelps Anderson, of Roswell, a former Republican who turned an impartial in February.

Attanasio is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on under-covered points.

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