Every year a national ranking is given to states for their quality of education. The ranking uses measures such as high school graduation rates, Advanced Placement exam scores, school finances, and pre-K enrollment. In 2016, and for the second year, New Mexico ranked 49th for quality of education.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez made educational matters worse by vetoing all funding for public colleges and university’s – all $745 million. Chancellor of New Mexico State University and a former Republican governor, Garrey Carruthers said, “I’m concerned that NMSU and the state’s other universities now appear to be caught up in a political strategy. Clearly, higher education in the state must be funded, and we hope both sides will work expeditiously to resolve their differences.”
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez vetoes higher education funding. All of it. https://t.co/fhukRXXyPW
— Victoria Benning (@VLBenning) April 17, 2017
Investment in New Mexico’s education, at all levels, has been falling for years. A 2015 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that after adjusting for inflation students in higher education experienced a 32.2 percent – or $4,383 per student – loss in funding. In 2016 the same organization reported that general school funding had been cut by almost 14 percent between 2008 and 2014. These cuts, when adjust for inflation, indicated that the state was spending almost 7 percent less per student than the state spent in 2008.
The bipartisan, balanced budget that Gov. Martinez vetoed raised taxes and increased the budget for education. Compromise prior to the new fiscal year that begins on July 1 appears unclear. Since the legislature can’t overturn the veto there are two options, either to call a special legislative session or take the veto to court.