Committee kills bill that would have given school districts the power to decide when to reopen

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A proposed bill that would’ve given school districts the authority to decide when students should return to the classroom died in committee Wednesday. Republicans in the Roundhouse pushed for the move after many of them expressed frustration with the state’s education decisions.

The state currently has the final say over whether a school district is eligible to reopen, however Republicans in the Roundhouse believe the decision should be left up to the community.

House Bill 182 died in the House Health and Human Services Committee. Those in favor of the bill argued school boards know the needs of the community better than state officials in Santa Fe

“I wish there was a way that I could feel comfortable with this bill, but it scares me to death that it will become politicized and school districts that don’t like the governor or school boards with members that don’t believe in COVID will have a bad outcome, so I can’t support this bill,” said Rep. Liz Tomson (D-Bernalillo County).

“The fact that kids are out of school is a very difficult situation for families, for the mental health of our children and for the opportunity to really get the economy back open, we really need schools to function in some manner so that kids can do what they need to do,” said Rep. Alonzo Baldonado (R-Valencia County).

A Senate version of this bill died last week.