« With Waiver Denial, Utah Mulls Second Accountability System | Main | Florida Risks Losing $1.1 Billion in Federal Funds Over ESSA Spat »

New Mexico School Finance Ruling Throws Wrench Into Gubernatorial Race

A lower court ruling in New Mexico that deemed the state's school finance system unconstitutional has pitted the many candidates running for state office against each other over how to provide more money to its schools.  

New Mexico is one of many states where school funding has emerged as one of the most divisive issues in this year's midterm elections.

A state district court judge ruled late last week that the state pays its teachers too little, provides its schools out-of-date textbooks and technology and, through its unique teacher evaluation system, removes incentives for its best-performing teachers to work at its worst-performing schools. That amounts to a system in which the state's public schools don't do enough to provide its students a constitutionally adequate education, the court ruled.  

The state has until April of next year to either appeal the ruling or comply with the court's orders to overhaul its school funding model. 

Candidates for the state's heavily contested governor's seat which is being vacated by outgoing Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, quickly pounced on the ruling. At issue is whether lawmakers should wait for revenue to come in from increased oil prices, pull more money from the state's savings account, tax its citizens, or fight the ruling to keep school funding as is.  

Republican gubernatorial nominee Steve Pearce didn't say whether he would appeal the ruling. 

"We can and must get more resources to our teachers and classrooms so teachers can teach," Pearce told the Santa Fe New Mexican. "We must fundamentally reform the bureacucracy so that it helps the very people in need, as the judge says." 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham used the ruling as an opportunity to attack the Republicans' school funding and accountability strategies. 

"There is not enough funding in the classrooms," she told the New Mexican.  "The better thing to do is get everyone to the table and make proposals to the court that work for the children." 

A school finance supreme court ruling in Kansas has split that state's GOP party between candidates who want to bend to the court's demands that the state pay its schools $300 million and candidates who want to outright reject its many rulings. 


Don't miss another State EdWatch post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox. And make sure to follow @StateEdWatch on Twitter for the latest news from state K-12 policy and politics. 

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments