PRESS RELEASE - February 7, 2005
Office of The Governor
Capitol Bldg., 4th Floor
Santa Fe, NM 87503

Gilbert Gallegos
(505) 476-2217

Governor Bill Richardson pledges $2 million to shore up struggling schools, and extend opportunities to home and charter schools

SANTA FE - Governor Bill Richardson today announced that he is dedicating $2 million in education funding to pay for initiatives that benefit students at home schools, charter schools and public schools that are struggling to improve.

Home school and Charter school participation in extracurricular activities
Working with the Legislature, Governor Richardson wants to use $1 million to start a program that would allow home school and charter school students in grades 7-12 to participate in school district extracurricular activities sanctioned by the NMAA. Eligible students would get the opportunity to participate in activities, such as sports or academic clubs, at the public school in the zone in which the student lives.

“I want to create opportunities for New Mexico families who choose home schooling or charter schools for their kids,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “Extracurricular activities are an important part of the learning process. We should have more access to these programs, not less.”

In addition to the $1 million that Governor Richardson is recommending, the Governor is working with legislators to craft a bill that spells out how the program will work. The legislation will be introduced in the House and Senate next week.

Helping low-performing schools
Governor Richardson is also dedicating $1 million to support the Public Education Department’s efforts to target 17 low-performing schools across the state. The money will be used to support a proven school-improvement process, known as the Baldridge Quality project, which relies on the strategic use of data to overcome a school’s weaknesses.

“We’ve identified the schools that need help,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “We must focus our energy and our resources where it will help the most - in the classroom. The Baldridge program will allow educators to find and fix the problems.”