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November 22, 2002
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SBE Approves 2003-2004 Public School Support Package

(Santa Fe, NM)-The New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) today approved its 2003-2004 public school support package totaling $1.99 billion. Included are an average 5.5 percent salary increase for districts' educational employees that will bring teachers' salaries to regional parity and funding to establish a system of three-tiered professional licensure. The package and 2003 legislative proposals will form the SBE's 2003 legislative package.

"Through its initiatives, the SBE is seeking to raise the level of learning for each of New Mexico's 320,000 public school children. By achieving regional parity in teachers' salaries and establishing a system of three-tiered professional licensure, we can attract and retain high-quality educators to our classrooms. The initiatives are evidence of the SBE's commitment to quality in public education," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis.

The SBE voted to include $3 million in its legislative package for pilot programs in 2003 of innovative high school curricula and to hold a minimum of four workshops throughout the state on proposed amendments to the Public School Code to change the state's graduation requirements and require students to prepare a program of study designed around a career pathway. The SBE envisions "career pathways" to prepare students for postsecondary education or the world of work. The pilot programs and workshops will help form the SBE's 2004 legislative proposals for high school reform. The SBE will reconsider the issue of high school reform in August 2003.

In addition, the SBE voted to continue the administration of the TerraNova in Grades 4 and 8, in addition to a criterion-referenced test (CRT), and approved the annexation by the Elida Municipal Schools of property in the Roswell Independent Schools. It also approved amendments to its regulations:

· To allow the Educational Standards Commission to hear appeals on all data for schools that are rated as probationary for a first year and "performance warned" or for a second year and entering their first year of school improvement and
· To provide one full year for schools implementing local corrective action plans to meet the criteria for an extension of school improvement or to meet standards.

The SBE voted to approve changes to its special education regulations and postponed action on changes in licensure to create a school district administrator and a school site administrator. It also instructed New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) staff to draft and send out for public comment a proposal to eliminate the Basic Skills Test as part of the New Mexico Teacher Assessments.