PRESS RELEASE - April 7, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Increased Funding will Flow to Public Schools Next Year

(Santa Fe, NM)--More money will flow to public school students next year as a result of the 2004 legislative session. The Public Education Department (PED) announced today that the state's unit value -- used to determine the amount of funds provided to each public school student for programs and services -- is estimated at $3,035.15, an increase of two percent, or $58.95, over last year. School districts rely on the unit value to establish their operating budgets each spring.

“The state is providing more money to schools facing significant growth, the appropriation for elementary arts funding has more than doubled and the state is completing the phase-in of full-day kindergarten so that every child is prepared to start first grade. And initiatives like charter schools are growing, with new grades added to existing charter schools each year,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García.

The PED is also projecting additional units in four major areas – the training and experience index, growth, the fine arts program and the final phase-in of the full-day kindergarten implementation. Because there are more units, school districts, on average, will see an increase in actual funding that exceeds two percent.

“Statewide, we are projecting that the total number of units will increase in FY 05 by 3.4 percent. When both units and the unit value increase, districts receive more money to benefit school children,” she said.

The unit value is the basis for the state’s funding formula for public schools. Public school students generate more than one unit depending on a number of factors, like, for example, whether they are in special education, in a high-growth district or in full-day kindergarten.

The PED must certify, on or before July 1, each local school district’s operating budget.