HOUSE BILL 280
55th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2021
Luis Terrazas and Rebecca Dow
MAKING AN APPROPRIATION TO PROVIDE REIMBURSEMENT TO LOW-INCOME PARENTS FOR SCHOOL EXPENSES FOR STUDENTS HAVING TO ATTEND PUBLIC SCHOOL REMOTELY; DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. APPROPRIATION--APPLICATION.--
A. Seventy-six million dollars ($76,000,000) is appropriated from the public education reform fund to the public education department for expenditure in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 to reimburse parents of public school students who meet the household income requirements for free or reduced-price lunch for necessary expenses to enable the students to attend public school remotely during school closures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2022 shall revert to the public education reform fund.
B. As used in this section:
(1) "household income requirements for free or reduced-price lunch" means a household:
(a) with income below one hundred thirty percent of the federal poverty level that qualifies the student for free meals;
(b) that receives support through the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program or the federal temporary assistance for needy families program; or
(c) with income between one hundred thirty percent and one hundred eighty-five percent of the federal poverty level that qualifies the student for reduced-price meals; and
(2) "necessary expenses" means supplies and equipment that would normally be paid for by the public school the student attends, including furniture, computers, printers and art and other supplies, the cost of purchasing internet connections or increasing internet speeds necessary to allow the student to attend school remotely and the cost of tutoring or other supplemental education services.
C. The public education department shall develop and send an electronic version of the coronavirus disease 2019 reimbursement application form to every school superintendent and every head administrator of a charter school for dissemination to the parent of every public school student in the school district or charter school that has qualified by application for free or reduced-price lunch. The application shall include questions to identify the eligibility of students for free or reduced-price lunch who currently qualify through the federal community eligibility provision. Parents who have not applied for free or reduced-price lunch may apply for that benefit as well as the reimbursement for school expenses as provided in this section.
D. An application submitted for reimbursement of necessary expenses shall include receipts or other proof of expenditure for covered purchases.
E. The maximum amount of reimbursement shall be four hundred dollars ($400) for the parent in a household in which students who are eligible for free lunch reside and two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for the parent in a household in which students who are eligible for reduced-price lunch reside.
SECTION 2. EMERGENCY.--It is necessary for the public peace, health and safety that this act take effect immediately.
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