Proposal to reinstate state school board passes Senate
A proposed constitutional amendment that would establish a state board of education passed the Senate Wednesday with bilateral support. New Mexico voters would decide whether to bring back a system similar to the one that existed before a 2003 constitutional amendment
The 2003 amendment created a Public Education Department presided over by a Secretary of Public Education appointed by the governor.
The amendment now proposed, which would appear on the 2024 ballot, would create a state school board, composed of 15 members, 10 of whom would be elected and five of whom would be appointed by the governor. The members would appoint a superintendent.
An analysis by the legislative education study committee found that this could potentially have stabilizing effects on state education leadership and 'provide a buffer from political motives'. The analysis noted that since the creation of the position of Secretary of Education there have been seven secretaries. In the 40 years prior, there were just three superintendents
The 2022 Kids Count Data Book puts New Mexico last in the country in education and senators referred to the dismal ranking, saying that more stability was needed. Bill sponsor Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart said the problem was not with any particular administration
"What it has to do with is either four or eight years, the education community basically gets whiplash, because things change so drastically with a new administration and a new secretary," she said.
The proposed measure passed by 36 votes to one.