Public schools, colleges and universities account for the largest share of the state’s yearly operating budget, nearly $3 out of every $5. Still, New Mexico continues to fall near the bottom of national education rankings and a report by the Legislative Finance Committee found that each ninth grade class loses roughly 7,700 students who fail to graduate in four years and nearly 7,200 students dropped out of the state’s public school system during the 2013 fiscal year.
PROPOSALS: Gov. Susana Martinez is expected to renew a proposal to require schools to hold back third-graders who can’t read proficiently, rather than promoting them to the next class. Lawmakers have opposed the idea in the past. She also wants to raise the starting salary for new teachers by $2,000 and create an early warning system to curb the dropout rate. Lawmakers also will have to consider ways to shore up a lottery-financed college scholarship program.