Education spending plan could hurt older, at-risk students | KOB 4
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Education spending plan could hurt older, at-risk students

Patrick Hayes
February 21, 2019 10:13 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - SB 1, if approved, will help increase teacher salaries, program expansions and additional days of instruction.

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But it will also disqualify dropouts over the age of 22, including inmates working towards a diploma.

Gordon Bernell Charter School in Albuquerque caters to non-traditional students including those behind bars at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

According to the school, it has a 15 percent recidivism rate which means 85 percent of the students that graduate don’t come back to jail.

Chris Cozone, the school’s MDC principal, told KOB, "The program needs to stay around because it's giving people a second chance to get a diploma."

Students told KOB they want to give themselves and their kids a better life.

"Myself, being in and out of jail throughout the years, I'm able to make a change in my life. Just because my background says that doesn't mean that defines me as a person," John Armijo said. 

One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Bill Soules, D-Dona Ana, told KOB that those students might be able to earn a diploma by using a different program.

Soules said, "The money in the formula funding for all of our students and once our students hit 21 there are other mechanisms to continue their education and get a high school diploma."

Another bill being discussed includes money specifically for adult education, according to Soules.

Meanwhile, Cozone said funding for these students should not be an issue because they dropped out.

"A lot of people believe these people shouldn't get a second chance because they were already funded but the reality is once they've dropped out of the system back when they were going to high school they were no longer being funded so you're giving them what they should have gotten in the first place,” he said.

The Senate Finance Committee will meet on Friday to discuss.

Track this bill during the legislative session

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Patrick Hayes

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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