PRESS RELEASE - January 10, 2005
Office of The Governor
Capitol Bldg., 4th Floor
Santa Fe, NM 87503

Gilbert Gallegos
(505) 476-2217

Governor Bill Richardson outlines plan to continue investment in classrooms

SANTA FE - Governor Bill Richardson today outlined an ambitious agenda for public schools, which is part of his Prepare for Success initiative. Governor Richardson’s plan emphasizes spending in the classroom and a major commitment to early childhood education.

Governor Richardson’s $2.1 billion education budget plan includes $93 million in new funding, and $41 million from the “education lock box” to pay for a variety of initiatives, including the first phase of a voluntary pre-kindergarten program; the next phase of three-tier licensure for teachers; bringing back physical education in elementary schools; doubling the number of school-based health clinics; increased support for charter schools; and funding for after-school and dropout prevention programs such as ENLACE.

“My goals for New Mexico schools are clear: Improve student performance in the classroom and close the achievement gap between minority and non-minority students; assure student health and well being; and hold schools accountable to maximize every dollar spent for students,” Governor Bill Richardson said during a news conference today.

1. Quality Teachers and Student Performance = Closing the achievement gap
$57 million for Educator Quality
· $51.8 million for next phase of three-tier licensure
· $1 million for professional development for pre-Kindergarten teachers
· $800,000 for Governor’s New Mexico Teacher Corps program.

$16.2 million for Early Childhood Education
· $9 million for Pre-Kindergarten
· Continued support for Full-day Kindergarten
· Before and after school programs for young children

2. Healthy Students in every classroom
$9 million for Student Health and Well Being
· $3-million to operate 34 new school-based health clinics
· $3.7 million to phase in physical education
· $750,000 for childhood obesity
· $600,000 for elementary breakfast programs

3. Holding School Accountable
$13.6 million for better Accountability
· $9 million for student testing, including new 11th-grade test and Spanish language test
· $2.6 million in incentives for schools to improve ($1.6 million for school improvement and $1 million for high performing schools)
· $1.8 million for next phase of NCES Chart of Accounts

4. $33 million dollars for additional reform programs
· $1 million to help charter schools get started
· $450,000 in technical assistance for charter schools
· $2 million for truancy and dropout initiatives, such as ENLACE and bullying prevention
· $1 million for extended school days to target students who are falling behind
· $2.5 million for the Indian Education Act
· Additional funding for the successful laptop learning initiative