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Resolution To Ask NM Voters To Bring Back Elected State School Board On House Floor

 New Mexico Public Education Department Building
Kevin Meerschaert
New Mexico Public Education Department Building

A Senate Joint Resolution that would ask New Mexico voters if they want to return to a partially elected State School Board is on the House Floor.

SJR1 would replace the Public Education Commission with a State School Board to set policy and direct the public education department.

Ten of the board members would be elected from the state board districts. Six will be appointed by the Governor. All would serve staggered six-year terms and only three of the Governor appointments can be of the same party. One of the appointees will be a tribal representative.

The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators Mimi Stewart and Steven Neville.

The current system was approved by voters in a special election in 2003 that had a much lower turnout than a general election.   

 Neville says bringing back the mostly elected board will bring more stability to state education.

“If we’re going to improve schools, if we’re going to meet Martinez-Yazzie requirements we’re going to have to have stability,” he said. “They only way we’re going to get that is if we have a situation where we’re going to have a long-term administration in place that can actually work to try to do the things,to try out some things that if they don’t work we go back and so something different but we have to have stability.”  

There is some opposition to SJR1, including interim Education Secretary Arsenio Romero.  He says he would like more time to look into the current system before any  major changes.   

If it gets passed, voters would decide if they want to see the changes next November. If approved the new School Board would be elected in the 2026 general election and take office in January of 2027. 

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.