HOUSE BILL 363
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2020
D. Wonda Johnson and Anthony Allison
RELATING TO PUBLIC EDUCATION; REQUIRING THE FOUR CORNERS REGIONAL EDUCATION COOPERATIVE TO EMPLOY NAVAJO EDUCATION LIAISONS TO WORK WITH MEMBER SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO DELIVER CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY RELEVANT EDUCATION TO NAVAJO STUDENTS AND TO SERVE AS OMBUDSPERSONS; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Regional Cooperative Education Act is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] FOUR CORNERS REGIONAL EDUCATION COOPERATIVE--NAVAJO EDUCATION LIAISONS.--
A. The four corners regional education cooperative shall appoint one or more Navajo education liaisons to work with its member school districts in developing and implementing culturally and linguistically relevant education to Navajo students.
B. Navajo education liaisons shall:
(1) be knowledgeable about the educational, cultural, linguistic and psychosocial supports needed by Navajo students;
(2) be appointed after consultation with the Navajo Nation department of Diné education and tribal colleges in New Mexico;
(3) work closely with school districts, tribal government, the Indian education division of the public education department, the Indian affairs department, tribal colleges and public post-secondary educational institutions in New Mexico to ensure that public schools are delivering a culturally and linguistically relevant, comprehensive public school education that results in post-secondary academic or vocational-technical success for Navajo students;
(4) serve as the regional education cooperative's Navajo ombudsperson for complaints from Navajo students or their families, public schools, tribal government and others that pertain to Indian education; and
(5) perform other duties as assigned by the executive director, so long as those assignments do not interfere with the performance of the primary functions of the position.
C. As the Navajo ombudsperson, the Navajo education liaison shall receive and investigate complaints and either resolve those complaints informally or refer them to the appropriate person or agency for resolution. The Navajo ombudsperson shall not function as a formal mediator, and the ombudsperson does not have formal decision-making authority or disciplinary responsibilities. The ombudsperson does not have the power to bind public schools, school districts or the four corners regional education cooperative or other parties.
D. Each January 1, the Navajo education liaison shall provide an annual report to four corners regional education cooperative members, the Indian education division, the department of Diné education, the president of the Navajo Nation, the governor, the legislature and the public on the liaison's activities of the past year and any findings and recommendations the liaison has to improve public education and post-secondary education for Navajo students and to improve communications among state, local and tribal governments."
SECTION 2. APPROPRIATION.--One hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the four corners regional education cooperative for expenditure in fiscal year 2021 to appoint one or more Navajo education liaisons and pay other expenses of the position, including furniture, supplies and equipment. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2021 shall revert to the general fund.
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