New Mexico voters pass early childhood education funding amendment

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Voters passed multiple constitutional amendments this Election Day.

One of the those amendments would allocate more money to New Mexico’s early childhood education programs. 

The constitutional amendment passed by more than 70%, and it’s a potentially historic move. This amendment would make New Mexico the first state in the country to make early childhood education a constitutional right to all families.

To do this it will take more money from the land grant permanent fund — that’s the money New Mexico gets from oil and gas leases– and this amendment has gotten a lot of support this election season.

“I say yes, I campaigned on getting that proposal through the Legislator and to the voters,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Back in September, when KOB 4 hosted the gubernatorial debate Lujan Grisham explained how this constitutional amendment would help children of all ages.

“If we want to deal with reading, third grade, second grade, first grade kindergarten, we need our kids better prepared that means we need quality pre-k education,” said Lujan Grisham.

This amendment will now allocate an additional 1.25% of the money in the land grant permanent fund to early childhood education programs.

Currently, this fund distributes just under $800 million a year to 21 different educational organizations– but this amendment will add early childhood education to that list.

Many Democrat supporters are considering this amendment a big win.

“I predict that is going to be one of the biggest winners of the night, but when we look back at it in 20 years it’s going to be an inflection point for the entire state of new Mexico,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich. 

Based off of last year’s allocations that 1.25% would amount to more than $140 million for early childhood education and $90 million for public schools in general.

The next steps will take place in Congress. 

The U.S. House of Representatives will need to approve the additional distribution of the funds.