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Report Finds New Mexico K-12 Funding Remains Below Pre-Recession Levels

PHOTO: According to new report, New Mexico is among several states where funding for public schools is less than it was before the Great Recession. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education.
PHOTO: According to new report, New Mexico is among several states where funding for public schools is less than it was before the Great Recession. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education.
October 21, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. - The results of a new study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows education funding for K-through-12 schools in New Mexico remains below pre-recession levels.

Gerry Bradley, senior policy analyst with New Mexico Voices for Children, says the research shows New Mexico's per-pupil spending is eight percent less than it was in 2008.

"It tells you we've got a ways to go before we get to where we were in 2008 in public school funding," he says.

According to the study, at least 30 states are providing less funding per student for the current school year than before the recession, and 14 of those states have cut per-student funding by more than 10 percent. Oklahoma, Alabama, and Arizona lead the nation with the deepest cuts.

As the November 4th general election quickly approaches, Bradley says the governor and state Legislature should make the education of New Mexico's future workforce a top fiscal priority.

"They need to get off of the idea that tax cuts are the solution," says Bradley, "They need to get onto the idea that improving public education in New Mexico is the solution to our economic development issues."

Bradley says many businesses look at a state's quality of education when considering where to "open up shop." He notes it would take about $300 million in new funding each year to restore New Mexico's K-12 funding to pre-recession levels.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM