Landmark Bipartisan Education Bill Headed To New Mexico Senate Floor For Vote

NM State Senate header

Landmark Bipartisan Education Bill Headed To New Mexico Senate Floor For Vote

The Senate Finance Committee Thursday unanimously voted in favor of SB 1, the bipartisan landmark education bill sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart and Sen. Gay Kernan to increase teacher salaries, support at-risk students and expand extended learning opportunities.

“SB 1 is the culmination of the hard work of the Legislative Education Study Committee and the Legislative Finance Committee–along with input from educators, community members and policy experts,” Stewart said. “This landmark bill is the largest new investment in New Mexico’s public education in more than 15 years.”

Among the many education improvements included in SB 1 is an increase in salaries for teachers, making the base salary for Tier One teachers $40,000, Tier Two $50,000 and Tier Three $60,000.

“As a retired educator, I know how hard teachers work—in their classrooms and to make ends meet at home,” Stewart said. “The salary increases established in SB 1 go a long way to showing educators that we value their work and their expertise.”

HB 2 includes an additional teacher salary increase, Stewart said, and teachers who work in extended-learning programs will see further pay increases.

The bill further extends the successful K-3 Plus program—which adds additional instructional days over the summer for students—to a K-5 Plus program.

“Our students, especially at-risk students, benefit from additional time in the classroom,” Stewart said. “It’s that simple. SB 1 provides even more New Mexico students with the opportunity for extended learning, which will lead to academic success.”

Overall, SB1 invests $330 million in new money into the state’s education system to address the disparities highlighted in the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit. The bill also invests extensively in rural schools and districts.

“From increasing educator salaries to making extended education opportunities available to more students, this bill goes a long way to addressing education inequities in New Mexico,” Stewart said. “However, SB 1 is one bill among many that we will be considering and supporting to move our schools, our students and our educators forward.”