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2017 APS Board of Education Resolution for Sufficient Funding

BOARD OF EDUCATION

Albuquerque Public School  ¨ Albuquerque, New Mexico

Resolution

PROVIDING THAT THE ALBUQUERQUE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION ENTER ITS APPEARANCE AND INDICATE ITS SUPPORT OF A MOTION TO SUPPORT SUFFICIENT FUNDING FOR THE STATE EQUALIZATION GUARANTEE TO SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION FROM THE NEW MEXICO STATE LEGISLATURE AND THE PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT.

WHEREAS, Albuquerque Public Schools is thankful for the investment in public education made by the legislature in fiscal year 2017 but understands that the costs of educating New Mexican children has increased since the fiscal crisis and sufficient funding for local school districts to complete their mission demands additional attention from the legislature and executive; and

WHEREAS, Article XII Sec. 1 of the New Mexico State Constitution mandates that a uniform system of free public schools sufficient for the education of, and open to, all the children of school age in the state shall be established and maintained; and

WHEREAS, the success of public education in New Mexico is dependent on legislators and executive adequately funding the entire public education sector; and

WHEREAS, local school boards and superintendents take their mission seriously – to provide the very best education possible to each child who walks through the public school doors; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico children deserve to be invested in because they define the future success of the state; and

WHEREAS, local districts and educators recognize the State of New Mexico’s difficult budget situation and loss of revenue in Fiscal Year 2017 but wants to ensure that policymakers understand that the Legislature cannot decrease funding for education and expect better results for students; and

WHEREAS, the financial needs of districts to appropriately educate students are explored throughout this resolution but to successfully address them the Legislature and the Executive are encouraged to discuss ways to enhance revenue or explore transfers from the Land Grant Permanent Fund so sufficient appropriations, that are not at the expense of other critical governmental programs, may be allocated to public education; and

WHEREAS, the legislature should fund all new statutory and regulatory requirements for public schools to avoid unfunded mandates from the State; and

WHEREAS, “above-the-line” investment for new revenue available in fiscal year 2017 preserves local school board control to best respond to the strengths and struggles in individual communities to best serve students; and

WHEREAS, the legislature and executive ought to make increasing the unit value of the state equalization guarantee (a.k.a. funding formula) their number one priority when establishing the public school budget; and

WHEREAS, the State of New Mexico failed to comply with federal special education maintenance of effort requirements and, therefore, inadequately fund special education programs in FY2010 – FY2012; and

WHEREAS, local school districts made necessary decisions to support special education in spite of the lack of funding received from the State of New Mexico and should be repaid funding justly due to them to rectify the fiscal shortfall from FY2010 – FY2012; and

WHEREAS, in the future, increasing the unit value is the best way to meet New Mexico’s federal special education maintenance of effort requirements to adequately fund special education programs, a priority which must be reached by the legislature; and

WHEREAS, to guarantee there is no inadvertent decline in the unit value, the legislature must fully fund any changes to the funding formula and avoid a loss in funding for districts across New Mexico,

WHEREAS, the legislature should consider moving successful “below-the-line” pilot programs into the state equalization guarantee so districts may implement those programs every year rather than rely on grant approval for funding; and

WHEREAS, sufficient funds are necessary to continue to eliminate class size waivers and return class sizes to 2008 statutory levels; and

WHEREAS, teachers and other public school employees deserve to make a comfortable living wage for the work they do for New Mexico children which considers the increased cost of living and sufficient funds to pay for quality insurance coverage; and

WHEREAS, teachers and school staff are professionals and investment in public schools assists districts in providing them consistent professional development and training on the most advanced educational practices to best serve students; and

WHEREAS, there must be a recognition of the struggles districts have had in providing statutorily mandated transportation for students to and from school and a recognition that the solution is a significant investment in transportation services so districts can meet this requirement and provide equal access to public schools for all students; and

WHEREAS, the legislature should acknowledge the importance of instructional materials in the classroom and increase funds available for schools to purchase those materials; and

WHEREAS, public schools are in need of additional funds because they are increasingly responsible for and morally obligated to respond to the wellbeing of the entire student by providing access to professional counseling services when a student suffers from mental health issues, including but not limited to substance abuse, providing access to quality health and dental care by continuing support to school-based health clinics, and by assisting families when needed through the services of trained social workers; and

WHEREAS, the implementation of standards based testing has grown the costs of testing students, and school districts need to have the financial support necessary to purchase, administer and score those assessments and report the data to education stakeholders; and

WHEREAS, in 2008 the legislature commissioned a student to create a baseline definition of sufficient funding formulated by the Legislature and a cross section of education stakeholders;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education formally requests that the legislature explore what sufficient funding may be defined as in relation to that 2008 study which explored appropriate funding levels for programs outlined in the study and compare those funding levels to necessary programs of current students and schools; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education formally requests that the legislature and Public Education Department prioritize funding to the state equalization guarantee and increase the unit value as much as practically possible due to the increased financial hardship on public school districts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the New Mexico State Legislature sufficiently fund the “above the line” budget so districts may restore lost educational programs and meet the needs of their local communities and students; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Governor of New Mexico, the Secretary of Public Education, the Legislative Education Study Committee, the Legislative Finance Committee and the New Mexico School Boards Association.

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