Governor Martinez Says NO To At-Risk Kids And Teachers

Before signing the $6.15 billion state budget, Governor Martinez in a heartless and uncaring manner, cut $15.2 million that would improve educational outcomes for at-risk and poverty level students. Then she vetoed a $2000 increase in minimum salary levels for experienced level two and level three teachers.

susana-martinez2Why?

DPNM Chairman Sam Bregman: “New Mexico’s at risk kids and their teachers need every resource we can give them. Legislative Democrats gave her those resources in the state budget that she agreed upon.

New Mexico is 50th in the nation for the wellbeing of children and now, thanks to Governor Martinez, our kids and educators will keep getting battered and ignored. She doesn’t get it and won’t until she is defeated and a Democrat is elected Governor,” Bregman added.

NM Senate Dems Stall Nomination of Anti-Education Nominee Skandera

Governor Martinez loses battle to win confirmation for failed education nominee

New Mexico’s Senate Democrats won a victory this week by refusing to confirm anti-education nominee Hanna Skandera. For over 3 years Governor Martinez has tried and failed to win confirmation for this incompetent and inexperienced education consultant. After moving to New Mexico, Ms. Skandera has consistently displayed both ignorance and arrogance when it comes to improving the lives of New Mexico’s children.

The failure to consult parents and the never ending war on teachers further illustrates that neither Governor Martinez or Ms. Skandera have any plan, ideas or vision on improving education and moving New Mexico up from 50th and last place.

Will you contribute $25 or $50 to help defeat Governor Martinez and Hanna Skandera so we can build a better future for New Mexico’s children? Please help us by contributing whatever you can spare today.

As soon as NM Senate Dems won this victory, NM House Republicans, under orders from Martinez/Skandera promptly cast their votes against teacher pay raises. Once again showing their indifference and hostility towards New Mexico teachers, House Education Committee Republicans ran out of the committee before the bill could be voted on by a quorum of the full committee. House Education Chairwoman Mimi Stewart:

“The Republicans are playing games with teacher’s salaries. It sickens me that I have brought this bill to the House floor two times and both times House Republicans have made a mockery of it.

“Today on the House floor, Republicans told New Mexicans whose side they really are on. Not the side of our hard working teachers who deserve pay raises. My bill is a comprehensive fix for all levels of teacher.”

NM Republicans are doing all they can to destroy public education, thereby causing additional problems and concerns for New Mexican families.

DPNM is building the future that is dedicated to providing a world class education for our kids, strongly supporting parents and teachers, as we work to find solutions to end the Martinez/Skandera education crisis.

Help our efforts.

Right now.

NM House Republicans Kill Bill to Fund Early Childhood Education

Senate Joint Resolution 4, sponsored by Senator Tim Keller (D-Bernalillo-17) was killed by House Republicans on the House floor yesterday evening on a 34 to 32 vote. SJR4 is a constitutional amendment, and required 36 votes to pass.

Republicans successfully killed the bill that funds early childhood education.

The bill, as amended ensured solvency for the Land Grant Fund, fixed the sunset to continue funding for early education, and ensured sound fiscal management by the SIC.

The amendment to the Senate Joint Resolution 4 did the following:

  • Ensuring Land Grant Permanent Fund always has a minimum balance of $10 billion dollars, up from the current $8.5 billion.
  • The amendment would allow the current 5.5% of the fund to be distributed for the purposes of education. Without the amendment, only 5.0% of the fund will be distributed starting in 2016. This means that approximately, $60 to $80 million will not be provided to our schools.
  • In order to ensure sound fiscal management of the distribution, the amendment allowed the financial experts at the SIC to make the .5% distribution based upon performance of the market. Essentially giving the SIC fiscal responsibility over the fund.

“First they vote against working New Mexico families, and an hour later they vote against early education funding, what are the House Republicans priorities this session, it sure doesn’t; seem to be the New Mexico working families,” said Rep. Bill McCamley (D-Doña Ana-33).

House Republicans Vote Against Teacher Pay Raises

House Republicans vote to kill a House Education Committee report on House Bill 391 today on the house floor on a 30 to 33 vote.

House Bill 391, is a sub for House Bill 67 sponsored by Representative Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo – 21), Chair of House Education Committee, which would increase the current salary minimums for teachers over the next 5 years top $40,000 for Level I, $50,000 for Level II, and $60,000 for Level III.

House Republicans, in an unconstitutional maneuver, changed HB 67 to ignore 22,000 current educators and gave a salary increase to only brand new teachers.

HB 67 was re-introduced in the form of HB 391 over the weekend to increase salary levels to mirror the original HB 67. Republican House Education committee members darted out of the committee before the bill could be voted on by a quorum of the committee.

Below is a statement from Representative Mimi Stewart:

“The Republicans are playing games with teacher’s salaries. It sickens me that I have brought this bill to the House floor two times and both times House Republicans have made a mockery of it.
Today on the House floor, Republicans told New Mexicans whose side they really are on. Not the side of our hard working teachers who deserve who pay raises.

“My bill is a comprehensive fix for all levels of teacher.”

House Republicans Undermine Salary Increases for Educators

House Bill 67, sponsored by Rep. Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo – 21), Chair of House Education Committee, would increase the current salary minimums for teachers over the next 5 years to $40,000 for Level I, $50,000 for Level II, and $60,000 for Level III.

Earlier this week, house Republicans, in an unconstitutional maneuver, changed HB 67, on the floor to ignore 22,000 current educators and gave a salary increase to only brand new teachers.

HB 67 was re-introduced in the form of HB 391 this morning to increase the minimum salary levels to mirror the original HB 67. Republican House Education committee members darted out of the committee before the bill could be voted on by a quorum of the committee.

Below is a statement from Chairwoman Mimi Stewart:

“Educators have not had a raise in 5 years and have had less take home pay because of health insurance costs and higher pension contributions. School Superintendents and School Boards are sounding the alarm: New Mexico is losing teachers because of low salaries and an unfair, overly burdensome teacher and principal evaluation system imposed by the Governor and Secretary Designee.

If we don’t honor the knowledge and skills of veteran teachers, we would be saying their experience is not valued and they are more likely to leave the profession. Our school districts are asking for a professional salary to help to recruit and retain teachers for our New Mexico students.

House Republicans are playing politics with teacher’s salaries, plain and simple.”

Democrats: Moving Education Forward

3 years and 36 days since Governor Martinez took office and our kids are worse off than ever before in state history.

  • 50th and dead last in the nation for the wellbeing of children
  • 1st in child hunger
  • deliberate and focused war on teachers to mask policy failures

We can do better.

DPNM is committed to giving our kids a world class education in our public schools. Thanks to the efforts of NM House Democrats, led by House Education Chair Mimi Stewart, HB 3 has been introduced and is being proposed for New Mexico’s public schools.

HB 3 Highlights:

  • Restoring trust and encouraging accountability: local voters have the power to hold their local school board accountable
  • Increased salaries for teachers and educational assistants: the teaching profession is in crisis in New Mexico. We must retain and attract quality teachers.
  • Reduce class size: return to maximum class size limits. Students in overcrowded classrooms often suffer from lack of attention
  • Reading proficiency: Reading is fundamental. HB 3 provides increased dollars to support schools that need early literacy and language development.
  • Education community: this bill reflects input from education communities across the state, held by interim committees throughout the year. Democrats believe everyone belongs at the table.

Will you contribute $25 or $50 to help defeat Governor Martinez and Hanna Skandera so we can build a better future for New Mexico’s children? Please help us by contributing whatever you can spare today.

HB 3 represents a new opportunity to improve our schools and help teachers, parents and kids get the education and skills they need to work and compete in the 21st century. Together with the early childhood ballot initiative, it is clear that Democrats are ready with a plan and vision for New Mexico’s children.

Democrats: moving forward to build the future.

Today.

Governor Martinez’s Lack of Record Shines Most in State-of-the-State Address

“We need someone who will lead and govern — not play politics!”

This resounding message given by Senator William Soules (D-32-Doña Ana) in the Democratic response to the governor’s State of the State speech set the stage for the start of the 30-day 2014 legislative session.

Senator Soules countered the governor’s empty remarks and lack of record regarding education, economic development, employment, water, and her predictable and oft-repeated wedge issue of issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented iimmigrants.

State Senator Bill Soules
State Senator Bill Soules

“The governor’s budget allows for only a 1.8 percent increase in education funding with most of it being controlled by the Public Education Department and not under local control,” Senator Soules said. “We (Democrats) have an education budget that calls for a 7.1 percent increase in education funding with most flowing through the funding formula so that local school districts, who know their own communities the best, can make the best decisions to support their schools. New Mexico has the fairest system for funding.”

“Not once did (the governor) mention poverty. Children in poverty start kindergarten 18 months behind. Every child should be able to start school prepared. We need to invest in high-quality early childhood education. Children can’t wait until the economy improves. Children can’t wait until the political climate changes. The children are counting on us. Investing in education is economic development,” added Senator Soules.

Senator Soules also questioned the governor’s commitment to jobs and economic development as state agencies under her control returned $65 million to the general fund last year through unfilled positions, cutting of services, and the playing of politics with capital outlay funds, all of which contributed to the stunting of local economies.

“This money would have funded jobs and services to help our most vulnerable,” Senator Soules said. “The Legislature put together a bipartisan jobs council with specific recommendations. This governor has chosen to ignore the recommendations and instead gave tax breaks to big out-of-state corporations. We need someone who will lead and govern — not play politics!”

Sentor Soules also commented that while the governor spoke about the number of jobs created, she failed to mention the number of jobs that have been lost in her administration. There has been no job growth. “As other states around us have come out of the recession, New Mexico has continued to drag. The wealthy have seen a rebound, and the poor haven’t. We have the largest income inequality in the nation,” Sen. Soules continued.

Democrats are committed to raising the minimum wage, a measure that was passed in 2013 but callously vetoed by the governor. “Research is clear, moderate increases stimulate the economy. It does not cause job loss,” Senator Soules said.

The senator from Las Cruces also questioned the governor’s continued focus on taking away driving privileges from undocumented immigrants and her classification of the existing law “dangerous.” Many law-enforcement agencies publicly support the law because it enables them to better track the drivers on the road.

“The governor has tried before and failed and is using this for political gain because it is a wedge issue, designed to separate people by class and to scare people,” Sen. Soules said. “Since last session, 10 additional states have begun issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants.”

Senator Soules also brought up the governor’s newfound concern for the state’s critical water situation, saying, that all legislators in New Mexico recognize the value of water and appreciate the efforts to make it a priority. But he shared frustration about the fact that Governor Martinez has not included legislators in her plans for water infrastructure improvements.

“Her hidden plans and dismissive attitude toward the legislators around the state hinder the ability of us all to make substantive changes. She will find much more cooperation if she included us rather than trying to work around us,” said Senator Soules.