Lawmakers tasked with making crucial changes to education system
January 10, 2019 06:22 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Last year a judge ruled that New Mexico is not properly funding education. Newly released court documents are detailing exactly what needs to be done to fix it.
It's all up to lawmakers during this upcoming legislative session. Attorneys working the lawsuit said they are also working with different lawmakers on a plan to get the state into compliance under the Judge Sarah Singleton’s orders.
But it's not an easy fix.
“During the times my sons were in elementary school the teachers did not have enough basic classroom supplies,” said Wilhamina Yazzie, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the state. “One teacher asked parents to bring in old socks to use to clean the dry erase boards. There are not enough textbooks to go around for all students in the class so they shared books.”
Judge Singleton ordered the state to make immediate changes. Her attorney Gail Evans said they're looking at a billion dollar fix.
“People say 'we're not being realistic or we're just big dreamers' but that billion dollars is simply to provide a basic education to our children,” said Evans. “The size of that dollar amount is a reflection of the magnitude of the problem the state has knowingly created for years.”
Outline of the findings include:
Improved bilingual and English Language Learner programming, universal pre-k, sufficient access to extended learning, smaller class sizes and increased teacher pay.
“An incremental adjustment to the at-risk factor isn’t going to be sufficient, an incremental increase in teacher salary isn’t going to be sufficient,” said Evans.
There will be education packages presented this session that aims at getting the state complaint. Then come April 15, a judge will decide if they’ve done enough.
Updated: January 10, 2019 06:22 PM
Created: January 10, 2019 05:39 PM
Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved