PRESS RELEASE - March 5, 2004
Office of The Governor
Capitol Bldg., 4th Floor
Santa Fe, NM 87503

Gilbert Gallegos
(505) 476-2217

Governor Bill Richardson signs bill allowing teaching degrees at
Northern New Mexico Community College

ESPANOLA - Governor Bill Richardson today signed a bill that allows Northern New Mexico Community College to begin offering four-year baccalaureate degrees in teaching.

“One of my campaign promises when I ran for Governor was to reduce the crippling teacher shortages - especially in rural New Mexico, where the loss of even one teacher can create a major setback for a school,” Governor Bill Richardson said shortly before signing Senate Bill 163 at a news conference in Espanola. “While we’ve made progress during the past year-and-a-half, we can do more. We need to do more as thousands of teachers become eligible to retire.

“This is the right thing to do - not just for northern New Mexico, but also to complement our efforts to recruit and retain the highest quality teachers for New Mexico’s public schools.”

Governor Richardson also signed House Bill 200, which allows the New Mexico Finance Authority to issue grants to New Mexico communities for water and wastewater projects.

Governor Richardson also announced the state will fund $4.5 million in priority economic development and community projects in Espanola and Rio Arriba County.

“The critically needed projects we’re funding directly address the statewide priorities the Legislature and I agreed upon,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “The money will pay for projects for higher education, water and sewer systems, and health care facilities. It will help drive economic development and create jobs for New Mexicans.”
The Governor approved the following capital outlay projects for Rio Arriba County:

* $2 million to build a regional water system in Espanola
* $1 million dollars to build a regional water system in Chimayo
* $600,000 for the Automotive Tech Building here at Northern New Mexico State School
* $260,000 to renovate and expand infrastructure here at Northern New Mexico State School
* $250,000 to plan and build a kitchen at the Pinon Hills detoxification facility
* $100,000 to renovate the Rio Arriba income support division office
* $162,000 to complete the adult daycare center
* $84,000 to make improvements at county senior centers