54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2020


G. Andrés Romero and Christine Trujillo









     WHEREAS, in 1974, in the Public School Finance Act, the New Mexico legislature took responsibility for funding the operation of school districts and created a funding formula to guarantee equal funding to all districts within the state according to their unique student population; and

     WHEREAS, since that time, the state has had the primary responsibility for funding the operation of its schools through the state equalization guarantee, which is how the legislature distributes state funding equitably to all eighty-nine districts. The state equalization guarantee is a progressive way to equitably distribute funding for schools, and the weights in the formula are based on the attributes of each student enrolled in those schools; and

     WHEREAS, in addition, the New Mexico public school funding formula adjusted the value of the pupil unit on the basis of the training and experience, commonly referred to as the T&E index, of each school district's professional staff, excluding principals. This adjustment was intended to promote and provide incentives for districts to hire and retain more highly educated and experienced teachers; and 

     WHEREAS, a program cost for each school district is determined by multiplying the student full-time-equivalency in a particular grade or a program full-time-equivalency by the respective cost differential to generate units. The full-time-equivalency to be used in the calculation of program units is the prior year average of district membership on the eightieth and one hundred twentieth days. All of the program units are then added together and multiplied by the district's training and experience index to produce the adjusted program units; and

     WHEREAS, in 2003, when the state adopted the three-tiered licensure system, the state created a link connecting teachers' licensure levels, education and experience to minimum salaries, but it soon became clear that the training and experience index and the three-tiered licensure system were a mismatch; and

     WHEREAS, in 2018, House Bill 188, sponsored by former Representative George Dodge, Jr., began the important process of transitioning New Mexico funding processes away from the outdated and inadequate teaching and experience model to the teacher cost index model. The phase-in of the teacher cost index model is an effort to better allocate adequate funding to public school districts, as these are the dollars that are required to compensate all teachers according to state mandated three-tiered licensure minimums; and

     WHEREAS, increasing the three-tiered minimum salaries decreases the state's ability to retain experienced educators; and

     WHEREAS, a next step to build on the teacher cost index is to enhance the three-tiered licensure and compensation system; and

     WHEREAS, many states and school districts have made a concerted effort to go beyond the traditional salary schedule made up of steps and lanes by creating career ladders, which typically serve as career advancement systems for teachers; and

     WHEREAS, in Montgomery county, Maryland's largest public school district, the district and union worked collaboratively to go beyond the ladder concept and developed a career lattice; and

     WHEREAS, New Mexico is poised to build on the three-tiered system by enhancing the teacher cost index with teacher attribute factors that would carry a weight in the state equalization guarantee, in a similar way to how the current funding formula attaches a weight, or multiplier, to students' attributes; and

     WHEREAS, weighting factors would include the responsibilities, credentials and leadership positions that exist in New Mexico public schools and that are, at least in part, required by the state of New Mexico. Including a factor for greater years of service, additional credentials and movement through the three-tiered system of licensure could enhance teacher retention efforts and could address the compression issues that have resulted from adding money primarily to the base of each tier. The new system could be called the teacher weighted formula; and

     WHEREAS, the goal of the teacher weighted formula is to create an innovative and cutting-edge statewide alternative compensation system that better connects the three-tiered salary minimums, a school district's need to fill school-based responsibilities and the state's goal to attract and retain teachers with diverse qualifications; and

     WHEREAS, through the teacher weighted formula, the state could create a framework to better allocate funding to school districts and value a highly qualified and diverse teacher workforce, and the teacher weighted formula has the potential to be the most innovative alternative compensation system in the United States; and

     WHEREAS, a teacher weighted formula will build on, and exceed, the current research and practice on alternative teacher compensation, while acknowledging the importance of teacher leadership, school responsibilities, diverse credentials and qualifications, advanced degrees or micro-credentials and retention of experienced teachers; and

     WHEREAS, by building onto the existing teacher cost index framework, calculating actual teacher costs through a teacher weighted formula and determining individual attributes that contribute to school function, success, stability and ability to meet student needs, the state has an opportunity to promote the longevity of teaching professionals, diversify qualifications, attract and recruit more people into the teaching profession and alleviate the compression of teacher salaries; and

     WHEREAS, an innovative career ladder through the weighting of additional roles and responsibilities that teachers assume, including extracurricular leadership, cocurricular leadership positions such as departmental chair and student assistance team chair, mentoring and leadership positions in school-based reforms, such as restorative justice initiatives and project-based learning, will help acknowledge the diverse credentials, talents and work of the New Mexico teaching force, and the state can better retain highly qualified teachers in the profession; and

     WHEREAS, as the state implements and refines the current teacher cost index framework, the teacher weighted formula would acknowledge and reward leadership roles, qualifications and responsibilities and help to ensure that distributed state funding matches the attributes of teachers in any given school district; and

     WHEREAS, moving to a teacher weighted formula in conjunction with the current teacher cost index is not a deep departure from current practice and is a next logical step in efforts to attract and retain a diverse, well-qualified teacher workforce in New Mexico; and

     WHEREAS, the legislature has already recognized that additional credentialing is valuable in New Mexico schools and provides a differential for those educators holding additional certifications. Advocates for the groundbreaking Yazzie/ Martinez v. State of New Mexico lawsuit believe that additional credentials, such as teaching English to speakers of other languages, bilingual and reading intervention, are also worthy of such differentials. Other areas of school-based responsibilities and teacher leadership should be treated equally; and

     WHEREAS, to create a true teaching profession in New Mexico, the school systems must provide the supports and structures that allow teachers to assume meaningful leadership roles in the school site, the school district and the profession as a whole; and

     WHEREAS, these roles should provide diverse opportunities and choices for teachers to continuously develop their skills in and out of the classroom. One important way to help create these opportunities is innovative compensation systems that provide a clear mechanism by which the state can capture the leadership and instructional capacity that already exists within the system; and

     WHEREAS, career ladders or "lattices" enable all staff to achieve their full potential, which in turn increases levels of personal satisfaction and improves job performance. A career ladder/lattice program builds the internal capacity of the school district to positively affect student achievement by using its most underutilized resource: its people; and         WHEREAS, the investment that New Mexico has made and is poised to make in salaries is an important component of attracting and retaining teachers; and

     WHEREAS, school is more than teaching and is made up of many enriching experiences designed for students. Additionally, teaching is not all that teachers do in school, as they have many leadership roles and take on a multitude of responsibilities that keep New Mexico schools running smoothly and students engaged;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the secretary of public education be requested to convene a task force to study, assess and make recommendations to address educator compensation in New Mexico; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force be composed of the following representatives:

          A. the secretary of public education or the secretary's designee;

          B. four representatives selected by the national education association;

          C. four representatives selected by the American federation of teachers New Mexico;

          D. twelve teachers statewide, selected by New Mexico education partners, as follows: two teachers who have a level two license and currently teach an elementary school class on a full-time basis; two teachers who have a level three license and currently teach an elementary school class on a full-time basis; two teachers who have a level two license and currently teach a middle school class on a full-time basis; two teachers who have a level three license and currently teach a middle school class on a full-time basis; two teachers who have a level two license and currently teach a high school class on a full-time basis; and two teachers who have a level three license and currently teach a high school class on a full-time basis;

          E. six principals statewide, selected by New Mexico education partners, as follows: two principals who administer an elementary school, two principals who administer a middle school and two principals who administer a high school; and

          F. four superintendents statewide, selected by New Mexico education partners; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force may convene work groups that include non-task force members with appropriate expertise and consult with state, regional and national experts; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force be requested to report its findings and recommendations to the office of the governor and the legislative education study committee by November 1, 2021; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the governor, the secretary of public education and the chair of the legislative education study committee.

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