There’s an old adage that money can’t buy happiness.
And except for teachers who received well-deserved raises, that certainly appears to be the case when it comes to an additional $446 million in new funding lawmakers and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham approved for K-12 public education in New Mexico this year – a whopping 16% increase that boosted the public schools’ share of the state’s $7 billion budget to about 47%.
For starters, plaintiffs who won the landmark Yazzie/Martinez education-funding lawsuit are already back in court. They say the state has failed miserably in developing a comprehensive plan establishing the necessary programs and services required to comply with the court’s ruling. (The state unfortunately chose not to appeal the decision by pro-tem Judge Sarah Singleton of Santa Fe that New Mexico was failing its constitutional requirements to provide a sufficient education for English learners, Native Americans, low-income and other at-risk students.)
Much of the new money, the plaintiffs argue, went to teacher salaries with little or nothing done to address the underlying issues that prompted their lawsuit.