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NMASBO Winter Newsletter January - March 2020

| 3rd Quarter | Volume 14 | Issue 3 |

President's Message

Claire Cieremans, President

Welcome 2020

Happy New Year! We get to start anew to improve upon all of our shortcomings from the previous year. Even if we don’t believe we had any shortcomings last year, January 1st does start a new year, if we can do a better job over the next 12 months, we should want to try.

Recently, all general members were sent an email requesting your input on a survey. This is the first comprehensive survey we have administered since 2014 and we thought it was time for some updated information. We appreciate you taking the time to complete the survey. The survey is designed to take you about 11 minutes.

The survey is broken into three distinct areas: demographics, training and communication and member engagement. The demographic section tells us about our members and their roles are in their districts/charters. The training and communication section gives us important feedback on the trainings we have been doing and what type of training is the most beneficial to our members. The final section, member engagement, is designed to let us know how effectively we (the NMSABO Board and staff) are communicating with our members and what method of communication works best. As the board enters our strategic planning meeting, this information is invaluable as we plan our trainings and conference to meet your needs in the future.

The survey will close on Saturday, February 29, so please complete the survey today, if you have not done so already. We will be conducting a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card from all the individuals who provide an email address on the survey. Thank you for responding to the survey and for being a member of NMASBO.

From the Executive Director's Desk

Terry Dean, Executive Director

Winter Conference

We are excited about the 2020 Winter Conference to be held on February 19 – 21 at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque. There are so many things about which we are excited. We have more sessions than ever, and this is the perfect setting to acquire your continuing education hours for your school business officer’s license. We are introducing “mini-sessions” at the end of the day on Wednesday and Thursday. These sessions that are 25 minutes long (half hour credit) and each mini-session will discuss a single topic. The sessions are intended to be shorter, addressing topics that do not need an hour-long discussion. This is a perfect way to end the instruction day, with short training sessions. The mini-sessions are like watching YouTube videos on how to fix your hot water heater (real life story). We hope you will find these sessions to be short, quick and extremely practical.

We are proud to have two important areas of emphasis at this year’s Winter Conference: Leadership and Cyber Security. The keynote speaker for the Winter Conference is Col. Arthur Athens, USMC ret. Col. Athens was a keynote speaker at ASBO International in 2018. The Board was so impressed with his message that they wanted the NMASBO membership to hear him. He is not one those keynote speakers who tries to make up for a weak message with hyperactivity. He is solid and you will be blown away with the depth and practicality of his message. Col. Athens alone is worth the price of admission. But, wait! If you act today, you will also have access to several sessions and lessons in cyber security. So far during this school year, we have had four school districts hit by cyber-attacks, which have absolutely brought them to their knees. The attacks disrupted the mission of the districts. We will learn from our friends who have lived through the nightmare and from IT professionals.

Many of the sessions will offer CEUs for our SFOs. New Mexico is a model for other states that are implementing an SFO study program. Since the start of the SFO study group at the 2018 Fall Conference, we have had 15 members become SFO's. To become a part of the SFO study group at the 2020 Fall Conference, email me at terry@nmasbo.org and we will get you on the list.

Strategic Planning

Your NMASBO Board will be meeting in Las Cruces on March 6-7 to review and adjust the strategic plan for 2020/21. The Board will discuss the trajectory of the organization, review the progress of this year’s goals and establish the goals/direction for the upcoming year.

Spring Budget Workshop

NMPED and NMASBO are pleased to host the 2020 Spring Budget Workshop at Hotel Albuquerque on April 1-3. The room block at Hotel Albuquerque is sold out. However, we have negotiated additional room blocks at The Best Western Rio Grande and Crowne Plaza. Visit our website at www.nmasbo.org for availability and room rates. NMPED leadership is currently working on the topics and sessions for the workshop. We will email everyone the tentative agenda as soon as it is ready for release.

See you at the Winter Conference!

2020 SBO of the Year Nominations

Teresa Scott, Region 3

2020 NMASBO/Equitable Distinguished SBO Roadrunner Award

NMASBO, along with our partners at AXA, are pleased to announce that nominations are now open for School Business Official (SBO) of the Year Award. This distinguished award helps us to honor an individual in the field of School Business as an outstanding, dedicated member of the profession. In addition to the public recognition at Spring Budget Workshop, the selected individual will also win a trip to attend the 2019 ASBO International Conference in National Harbor, Maryland as part of the esteemed honor. There are outstanding Business Officials in all of our schools. Please show your appreciation for these priceless individuals by nominating one today.

Formerly AXA

Also, I welcome anyone who would be interested in serving on this committee to assist in choosing this outstanding recipient, to contact me at scott_teresa@aps.edu or contact our NMASBO office at 505-923-3283.

We are currently accepting nomination forms. Please see our website for a complete list of requirements and the nomination form. In addition to the form, please email a letter of recommendation for your nominee, detailing the required information to Jessica Montano, jessica@nmasbo.org.

Do not wait too long to nominate your outstanding business official! Deadline to submit nominations and letters is Friday, March 6, 2020.

NMASBO Regional Elections

Claire, President

"The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them." -John Maxwell

We have four very qualified incumbent candidates who have chosen to run for the board of directors of NMASBO. Please take the time to read about their qualifications and reasons for wanting to continue to serve on the board. If there are no nominations from the floor during our business meeting coming up next week, then these members will be accepted by acclimation. Thank you all again and we look forward to seeing you next week!

Teresa Casias, SFO - Region 2 NMASBO Director

In 1999, I received my BA in Accounting from New Mexico Highlands University; in August 1999, I accepted the position at Wagon Mound, and completed 20 years of service in August 2019. I have held a Level 2 Business Official's License since 2008 and held a Level I Business Official license prior to that, beginning in 2004. I have served as the Region 2 representative for NMASBO since 2010 and have served as the Treasurer for the last couple of years. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve in this capacity for so long, and I look forward to continuing to serve. I hope to see the NMASBO board continue to serve its members by offering quality, timely and rigorous training for all members of the Business Office, as well as continuing with the Leadership training program. Your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Myah Crisp - Region 2 Candidate

  • School District / Charter School: Clayton Municipal Schools
  • School Title: Business Manager
  • Number of years as a school business official: 2 years

I have 15 years of experience in the Clayton School district starting with substitute teaching moving through the ranks to campus secretary onto the Administration office wearing the many hats of an Administrative Assistant. I hold a Level I School Business Official license from the NMPED . I have been the Business Manager at Clayton Schools for the last 2 years. I currently serves on the Audit and Finance committees for the district. I was also Vice-President of the governing council of the Amistad charter school for two years before it closed in 2008. I am a 2017 NMASBO Boot Camp Survivor. I would like become a NMASBO board member to be a bigger part of an amazing organization that has provided her with the training and networking that is so vitally important to be successful as a school business official today. I ask for your vote for Region 2 NMASBO Board Member.

Teresa Scott - Region 3 NMASBO Director

Teresa Scott, Executive Director of Budget & Strategic Planning for Albuquerque Public Schools

I became a member of the Board of Directors of New Mexico School Business Officials in the fall of 2016. I enjoy being a part of such a great organization. During my tenure, I have had an opportunity to expand my knowledge in School Business as well as understand the issues that whole state faces rather than just “my little world.” I have enjoyed giving input and helping solve issues that all districts face and I would love to continue as your representative for Region 3 on the Board of Directors. I have over 26 years of experience in accounting with 19 specifically in public education. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a Level II School Business Official’s License. Before coming into school finance, my experience was in private manufacturing finance for six years. I began my career in school finance with the Roswell Independent School District in January 2001. As the Fiscal Grant Specialist, I developed a strong background in Federal, State and Local regulations surrounding grant funding. In July of 2005, I accepted a position with Albuquerque Public Schools as the Title I Fiscal Specialist. Over the next 12 years, I advanced through the grant department and took over as the Director in August of 2012. I accepted the position of Executive Director for Budget & Strategic Planning in September of 2017, and I am eagerly embracing the new challenges I face every day.

Sarah Stubbs, SFO - Region 4 Candidate

  • School District / Charter School: Portales Municipal School District
  • School Title: Finance Director/CPO
  • Education & License Level: MBA, SBO II, CPO, SFO
  • Number of years as a school business official: 13 years
  • Other Boards or committees served on: NMASBO Scholarship Committee, Leadership Portales

What would you like to see accomplished as a member of the NMASBO board?

I'm pretty sure most of us are in the same boat, but I never knew I would be in school business when I was younger. This isn't exactly one of those professions that someone goes to school to become, like a teacher. We all started out in some other position, saw what this was, and went for it because we know how it influences the success of our schools and our kiddos. I started going to the NMASBO conferences in 2007 [and I think I have only missed two: one where I was super pregnant with my daughter (who is now 10 and ornery) and one where I went on a cruise to participate in a cousin's wedding in Mexico that was planned two years in advance (not going to lie, I had a nice time)]. I have seen this organization grow leaps and bounds since then. Back in 2007, I was a newbie who felt like my learning curve was a straight vertical line. I was quiet at our meetings and listened to everything everyone said. I knew training was the key. I was lucky enough to be in the first class of NMASBO Boot Camp in 2011. That was when I started testing my voice and participating more. I jumped at the chance to learn and grow to make sure my district was spending funds appropriately. Every year I learned, absorbed, and hoped I was doing everything I was supposed to be...correctly. I have made lasting friendships and networked with other professionals (and as a sorta introvert, that has been the hardest part). We may not have the answers, but we sure know we can reach out to find the answers we need because of NMASBO. When NMASBO calls and says, "Hey Sarah, can you do a training on this topic?" My answer is yes, not because I like to hear myself talk, but because I think I can help at least one person with something they are struggling with. As a member of the NMASBO Board, I want the training, learning, and advocating to continue and become better. The only people who truly know what we do day-to-day are us. You and I. The legislators and PED are trying (they are listening), but it is up to us to make sure we are informing, advocating, and making sure they are absorbing what we are saying. People are our biggest resources and, until you make a move and start using your voice, everything will stay the same. The misconceptions will continue, the miscommunications will proceed, the reasoning and common sense will take a backseat. I learned a long time ago, I don't know everything but as long as you are not afraid to ask questions and learn, you will be successful. I'm not afraid to fall or fail. Those are often the best opportunities to find out who you are as a person and as a leader in your district. (For me, it was walking into my Superintendent's office and telling him he would be a fool to let anyone take this position other than me. I am really glad he listened.) As your member of the NMASBO Board, I want to be an advocate for all of you, whether it be for training opportunities, a voice when you can't find yours, or as a person to call or email when you need help.

Chris Parrino, SFO - Charter NMASBO Director

  • School District / Charter School: Montessori of the Rio Grande Charter School
  • School Title: Business & Finance Director (2010 – Present)
  • Education & License Level: Double Major in Accounting and Finance from the University of New Mexico, 2004; Level 2 Business Manager License; ASBO International Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations
  • Number of years as a school business official: 10 Years
  • Previous work experience (including locations): Senior Auditor for Accounting & Consulting Group, LLP, Albuquerque, NM (2005 – 2010)
  • Other Boards or committees served on: Board Member for New Mexico Public School Insurance Authority (2014 – Present); Benefits Advisory Committee Chairman (2017 – Present) Vice-President of the Board (2018 – Present); Council Member for St. Pius X High School (2017 – Present); Audit Committee Member for Christine Duncan Heritage Academy (2011 – 2015); Treasurer and Council Member for Montessori of the Rio Grande (2008-2010)

What would you like to see accomplished as a member on the NMASBO board?

I would like to see a continuation of the great progress that has already been made by the Board. We should expand on our successes, which are many. Our training programs will continue to get better and improve the profession. Our communications will continue to let our NMASBO members, observers and even those who are unaware, know about the great works being done in order to make our profession stronger and more respected. In short, when people think about school finance in New Mexico, they will know that NMASBO is the first place to turn for resources and information.

What NMASBO committees would you like to be on?

I look forward to continuing to serve on the Training Committee and as Chair of the Charter School Committee. Through our collaborative efforts we will continue to improve our trainings and ensure that we are offering our membership what they need to succeed. I will continue to work with other stakeholders in New Mexico Schools so that we are delivering on the demands of our communities.

SFO© Certification

Terry Dean, Executive Director

Several years ago, ASBO International introduced the SFO© certification program. SFO© stands for Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations. To become an SFO©, the candidate must satisfy ASBO International’s eligibility requirements and pass an exam to evidence their mastery of the competencies. The competencies tested by the SFO© Exam surpass the New Mexico requirements for the School Business Official’s license as stated in NMAC 6.63.12.9.

To be eligible to sit for the exam, the candidate must have: 1) A Master’s Degree in a field related to school business and a minimum of two years of experience in the field of school business; 2) A Bachelor’s Degree in a field related to school business and a minimum of three years of experience in the field of school business, or; 3) Seven years of experience as a school business official (approval is based upon the seasoned practitioner provision).

In September 2019, NMASBO conducted its second study group to help five candidates prepare for the exam and all passed the exam.

After watching the group of School Business Officials be presented with SFO certificates during last year’s NMASBO Winter Conference, I saw how impressive the group was, and determined that the SFO was now a goal of mine. I did some research on the Administrator of School Finance and Operations (SFO) certification through ASBO International’s website and immediately sought out Terry and Jessica to express my interest. Luckily for me, NMASBO put together a study group for the SFO made up of the close group of NMASBO members who also wanted the certification, and led by one of NM’s very own SFO certified SBO’s, Leslie Pearce. Our group met throughout the Fall Conference, where we reviewed sample questions, highlights from some of the available ASBO International SFO web videos, but more simply held discussions about our organizations and our experiences. On test day, I quickly discovered that any of the worry or doubt I had was wasted energy. All of the time with the study group and our dedication to high quality school business management in New Mexico had me prepared, and I was able to relate an experience from the study group to the correct answer for the majority of the questions. The SFO study group and Leslie prepared me for the exam, and the experience would have been much more daunting and stressful had I not participated in the study group. I encourage all of the SBO’s in New Mexico to take the exam and help continue to reinforce the exemplary quality of our School Business Officials in the state." - Sean Fry, SBO (Albuquerque Charter Academy)

Horace Mann is a Partner with ASBO International and they have paid to frame the certificates for the individuals who passed the exam. NMASBO will be presenting these individuals with the framed certificates at our Winter Conference being held February 19–21 at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque.

If you missed the study group in the fall, we will be conducting a study group again at the 2020 Fall Conference in Santa Fe on September 16 - 18. NMASBO offers a reimbursement program for the successful completion of the exam. Come join the fun and don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Congratulations to the following individuals who took the exam and became SFOs in September 2019: Claire Cieremans, Los Lunas Schools; Sean Fry, ABQ Charter Academy; Tanya Hutchins, Lovington Municipal Schools; and Chris Parrino, The Montessori of the Rio Grande!

NMPSIA Update

Chris Parrino, Charter Rep

The following represents an overview of the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority’s (NMPSIA) programs and a financial update. Should you desire more information, feel free to contact Mr. Chris Parrino, NMPSIA School Business Official Board Representative at cparrino@mrgcharter.org. You may also contact Mr. Richard Valerio, Interim Executive Director, at richard.valerio@state.nm.us, or call 1.800.548.3724.

Board

Mrs. Denise Balderas and Mr. Sammy J. Quintana have been appointed to the NMPSIA Board of Directors as Governor Appointees.

The next Board meeting is scheduled for 9:00 A.M., Thursday, March 5, 2020. The meeting will be held at Cooperative Educational Services, 4216 Balloon Park Rd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109. The agenda will be made available on www.nmpsia.com.

Administration

It is with deep sadness that Mrs. Ernestine Chavez-Lucero passed away on November 22, 2019. Mrs. Chavez-Lucero had a long career at NMPSIA and truly cared for NMPSIA’s membership. She will be greatly missed.

Mr. Richard Valerio was appointed Interim Executive Director and oversees all NMPSIA related services, including the Risk and Benefits Programs.

Mr. Patrick Sandoval serves as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Sandoval works primarily with the Agency’s budget and investments and oversees the Financial Division.

NMPSIA is seeking to fill positions for a Chief Procurement Officer and a Financial Specialist. You may contact Mr. Patrick Sandoval, Chief Financial Officer, NMPSIA, for any inquiries at patrick.sandoval@state.nm.us, or call 1.800.548.3724.

Benefits Division

Pursuant to authorization of the NMPSIA Board and the Health Care Purchasing Act, NMPSIA is in the process of procuring group medical, dental, and vision benefits coverage. Evaluations and scorings has been completed and NMPSIA is in the process of negotiating final contracts. The intent is to have new contracts in effect July 1, 2020. Further communications on the awarded vendors and offerings will be sent out to NMPSIA members.

The Board will be approving medical and dental premium rate increases for FY21 at the March meeting. Communications on increases will be sent out once the final rates are approved. Any premium changes will be deferred to October 1, 2020.

NMPSIA will be hosting the 2020 Regional Educational Trainings throughout the state. This is a personal and professional development training opportunity for Benefits Specialists and School Representatives. The topics will include, but are not limited to supporting staff when enrolling in NMPSIA and selecting benefits, access to care, and benefits and wellness information. The trainings will be held as follows: July 14-16, 2020 & July 21-23, 2020.

  • Tuesday, July 14, 2020 – Roswell
  • Wednesday, July 15th, 2020 – Las Cruces
  • Thursday, July 16, 2020 – Albuquerque/Rio Rancho Area
  • Wednesday, July 22, 2020 – Santa Fe Community College
  • Thursday, July 23, 2020 – Albuquerque/Rio Rancho

If you would like more information, please contact Ms. Katherine Chavez, Benefits and Wellness Operations Manager, at Katherine.Chavez@state.nm.us at 1.800.548.3724, ext. 1011.

NMPSIA encourages members to use the video visits benefit under both BCBSNM and Presbyterian as an alternative to care rather than going to urgent care. The cost to the member is $0. Physicians can e-prescribe medications in order to treat members. This is a great benefit, especially for members living in rural communities with little or no after-hours care for non-emergent situations. If a member cannot be treated through a video visit, the member will be redirected to other health care options. In order to use this service, go to your medical plan’s website to complete the registration for this service. Once you are registered, you can quickly access this level of care when needed. If you have any questions or require assistance, please contact the Benefits Department at NMPSIA at 1.800.548.3724. (BCBSNM is offering video visits for behavioral health at the same $0 copayment, and Presbyterian is working toward implementing this option sometime soon.)

NMPSIA’s data warehousing services provided by Segal has assisted in rate projections and plan design to determine where NMPSIA needs to focus on enhancing member education to better assist members in efforts to manage their overall health status. Diabetes, asthma, cancer, coronary artery disease, inflammatory conditions, and hemophilia continue to be some of cost drivers on both the medical plans and the prescription drug plan.

NMPSIA’s Wellness Programs offered through the medical plans are working to improve member engagement. NMPSIA is asking for your support in considering the implementation of a wellness at work program to assist in improving the overall health of the NMPSIA membership. NMPSIA is a self-insured plan, so a healthy population will translate to affordable premiums and good benefits. These programs may also contribute to less absenteeism and improve presentism, as well as encourage members to develop a relationship with a primary care physician in order to ensure they become aware if they may be at risk of developing a chronic medical condition. The programs can be designed to fit the needs of your district/school as one-size does not fit all. If you would like more information, please contact Ms. Katherine Chavez, Benefits and Wellness Operations Manager, at Katherine.Chavez@state.nm.us at 1.800.548.3724, ext. 1011. Please allow NMPSIA to help you come up with a strategic plan for your district/school. Remember wellness is not just about nutrition and exercise, it is about our emotional, financial, occupational, environmental, spiritual, and social state of mind. Please visit www.nmpsia.com and review the presentations made during the July 2018 Regional Benefit Training sessions. The trainings were geared toward improving overall health.

Risk Division

The Risk Services Division of NMPSIA provides insurance for Property, Liability, School Board Legal Liability, Crime, Cyber Liability and Workers’ Compensation coverages. NMPSIA members consist of K-12, Charter Schools and Educational Entities (including several colleges and universities). Insurance is provided by a Memorandum of Coverage. NMPSIA maintains large self-insured retentions/deductibles, which means that NMPSIA pays losses on most cases that are filed on behalf of its members. NMPSIA purchases excess insurance from carriers that provide large limits of liability in case a claim exceeds retentions. NMPSIA contracts with various professionals that provide services for the following: brokerage, consulting, administration, actuarial, driver information retrieval, and claims management. These groups, along with staff, meet once a month reviewing coverages, claims, loss trends and loss prevention services to ensure NMPSIA provides the broadest coverage available and the best service possible.

Within the Risk Program, there are many areas of loss control issues that are addressed. NMPSIA’s efforts to focus on playgrounds, a leading cause of serious injury among children, has also led to an expansion of PSFA review. The hope is an increase in funding will ultimately reduce the risk and affect the stability of the pool.

NMPSIA, through its contract with Poms and Associates, has spent a vast amount of time focusing on school violence and sexual molestation trainings. NMPSIA’s main efforts are to provide consulting services that helps to ensure the safety of children and employees. NMPSIA and Poms and Associates drafted and distributed guidelines for arming school personnel for all members. These guidelines are to be posted on www.nmpsia.com under the Risk section.

NMPSIA is actively working with the Public Education Department and the School Ethical Conduct Task Force on House Memorial 57 to identify issues of concern regarding ethical misconduct and to develop a strategic plan to alleviate those concerns.

NMPSIA continues to collaborate with the Public Education Department and the Department of Public Safety on House Bill 129, School Security Personnel and Deadly Weapons, which was passed by the Legislature. This bill defines “School Security Personnel” and the required training for individuals approved to carry a weapon on school grounds. This legislation goes into effective on July 1, 2020. NMPSIA will be working with the New Mexico Public Education Department on the Rules outlining requirements for schools and to develop school security personnel and firearms training programs. The training programs will include working with students with special needs, cultural competency and prohibited profiling practices.

Another area of focus in the Risk Program has been the development of a Boundary Policy. It was discovered that school districts did not have an effective policy that spelled out all the do’s and don’ts and both legal and moral responsibilities of an educator, and their duty to report misbehavior. A policy was adopted by the NMPSIA Board and distributed for districts to adopt. This policy is available for viewing on www.nmpsia.com under the Risk section.

NMPSIA continues to fund and support CES with a Technical Assistance Program that assists districts with special education issues, such as IDEA and IEP’s, and has been very successful. NMPSIA is always looking to improve education and programs to avoid employment practice claims and to ensure the due process rights of employees along with ultimately providing a safe environment for our children to learn. All these initiatives involve great teamwork between staff and its consultants.

The Board will be approving risk premium increases for FY21 at the March meeting. Budget notices will be handed out at the Spring Budget Workshop.

The NMPSIA Board endorsed the Sandy Hook Promise Program, an anonymous reporting program and system. NMPSIA is hopeful this new program will encourage individuals (including students) to report inappropriate behavior in order to prevent serious misconduct. Sandy Hook Promise is free of charge to all members and participation is strongly encouraged. Information can be found on www.nmpsia.com under the Risk section. If you wish to discuss the program in detail, please contact Ms. Julie Garcia with Poms and Associates at jgarcia@pomsassoc.com.org at 505.797.1354. It is imperative that we all work together to try to change the culture in our schools to “say something!”

Further, contact Ms. Garcia for any risk-related training you wish to bring to your district/charter school. A summary of trainings can be found at www.nmpsia.com under the Risk section. There is no cost for these trainings!

Financial Overview

NMPSIA’s FY2019 audit for the period ending June 30, 2019 was completed and released by the Office of the State Auditor. NMPSIA received an Unmodified Opinion and had no audit findings.

NMPSIA staff testified in front of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee on January 16, 2020. The Authority’s FY21 appropriation request was presented to the Committee. The Committee adopted the Legislative Finance Committee’s recommendation of $414.5 million.

NMPSIA does not receive a direct appropriation from the State General Fund. The Authority’s appropriation request sets the expenditure authority in which claims, and other expenses, can be paid by the Authority. The employer contribution for premiums paid to NMPSIA are funded through the “Insurance” line item in Public School Support. For FY21, NMPSIA recommended that the Public Education Department request $17.4 million ($10.7 Million for Employee Benefits and $6.7 Million for Risk) in additional funding for increases in the employer contribution for insurance through NMPSIA. Albuquerque Public Schools generally receives about 1/3 (one-third) of any appropriations through the mechanics of the funding formula.

Stan's Straight Talk

Stan Rounds, NMCEL Executive Director

As I prepare this Straight Talk, the Legislative Session is half-way complete. The early indications are that public education and early childhood are the two highest priorities, along with planning for the financial future of New Mexico. Legislation is moving through on the education front that continues K-5+ and Extended Learning (ELT), increases At-Risk funding to a 0.3 factor, provides differentiated pay for teacher mentoring, finally finishes funding of elementary PE, continues enhanced funding of instructional materials, increases compensation for public school employees by an average 4% and an average 5% for instructional staff, continues to fund transportation in the manner it has in prior years, provides supplemental emergency funding at a higher level than this year (FY20), provides dual-credit materials at a 50% higher level than current year, and funds “big bucket” below the line funding in response to the request from the PED.

A considerable amount of consideration has been placed on the new Early Childhood Department and one bill has set up a quasi-permanent fund for the department without pulling from the Permanent Fund. Attention is being paid to the early childhood services and there is likely to be additional consideration for funding of those services.

Overall, for public education there is a 7.6% overall increase in funding. In the base for public school program cost the increase is at 6.1%, at this point. Still to be resolved is the issue of Impact Aid and the credits taken by the current funding formula. There appears to be a focus on reimbursing districts for some portion of their credits through a parallel funding process and not changing the SEG calculation process. There has been some consideration given to allowing all credits to be considered for this parallel process, which would benefit all districts to some extent. More to come in this area.

Legislation is passing through that may fix the retired teacher substitute problem. The bills would set a 90-day layout period for retirement before a teacher could come back to substitute. They would be limited to no more than 90 days of substituting in a year and would be restricted to an income not to exceed $15,000. Retiree Health Care funding is also moving forward. The HAFC stripped an appropriation at the request of the RHCA and then approved the rate increase for employee and employer. Right now, employees pay 1% of their salary into the fund – this will rise to 1.17%. The employer is currently paying 2% match and will now pay 2.32%. This will assist solvency until 2050.

As things move forward, we will continue to send updates and post information on the website. I expect to see several superintendents at AASA in San Diego.

Special Olympics of New Mexico

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ―Margaret Mead

| Facebook: @sonmpr | Twitter:@SONewMexico |

The NMASBO Board of Directors and staff has chosen Special Olympics New Mexico as our 5th Community Social Responsibility Campaign recipient. We encourage all of you to donate to this amazing organization at the 2020 Winter Conference.

During the 2019 Fall Conference, the membership raised around $700 and we are excited to raise more money and awareness about this organization.

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

It’s not too late to help these children and their families at Special Olympics of New Mexico through a donation at the Winter Conference in February. We will be presenting Special Olympics of New Mexico with the funds we have collected at the 2020 Spring Budget Workshop at the beginning of April.

We want to know which charity you want to partner with for FY 2020/21

You, the members, are the foundation of our organization. You are in your communities and see the needs first hand. We would love to hear which organization or charity you want to sponsor next. We have sponsored some wonderful organizations so far, but we are sure there are plenty more that need our help and commitment to children.

If you have a charity in mind, please send an email with the name and phone number of the charity to: scott_teresa@aps.edu. Please put in the subject line: NMASBO Community Social Responsibility Campaign.

Your kindness and generosity in all of our Community Social Responsibility Campaigns is greatly appreciated! We look forward to seeing you at Winter Conference February 19-21!

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