Commentary: Albuquerque – American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly released the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski and Governor Susana Martinez are proposing an education budget which suggests a not only a ‘flat’ budget for our local districts, but a decrease of $200 million for New Mexico public schools.
“This request makes absolutely no sense considering revenue from energy production is increased over last fiscal year, and we have still failed to reach 2008 pre-recession levels of funding for public education. Educators, parents, and our communities expect the New Mexico Secretary of Education to be a champion for public education, and his failure to advocate for a budget which prioritizes greater funding for local school districts is a disappointment. Ask any public educator if their students are receiving the full resources they need to succeed, and they will tell you our schools and classrooms are chronically underfunded, and our students are suffering.
“Strangely, the NM PED is actually pushing for a reduction in funding for early learning interventions, which are some of the most successful programs for a student to excel later in their education, and simultaneously sends the wrong message to the business community that New Mexican decision makers aren’t serious about targeting our resources in order to provide a 21st century, high quality education for our students.
“This is another foolhardy move on the part of Secretary-designate Ruszkowski, and starving our K-12 schools from much needed funding is a recipe for failure. We challenge Legislators to reject this budget, and work to fully fund our schools at the local level, instead of believing the PED’s notion that we can cut our way to success.”