SENATE BILL 384
55th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2021
Craig W. Brandt
RELATING TO PUBLIC EDUCATION; REQUIRING A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR CHARTERING AUTHORITY TO CLOSE A PUBLIC SCHOOL UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS; ALLOWING PREFERENCES FOR STUDENT ENROLLMENT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 22-1-4 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1975, Chapter 338, Section 1, as amended) is amended to read:
"22-1-4. FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS--EXCEPTIONS--WITHDRAWING AND ENROLLING--OPEN ENROLLMENT.--
A. Except as provided by Section 24-5-2 NMSA 1978, a free public school education shall be available to [any] a school-age person who is a resident of this state and has not received a high school diploma or its equivalent.
B. A free public school education in those courses already offered to persons pursuant to the provisions of Subsection A of this section shall be available to [any] a person who is a resident of this state and has received a high school diploma or its equivalent if there is available space in such courses.
C. [Any] A person entitled to a free public school education pursuant to the provisions of this section may enroll or re-enroll in a public school at any time and, unless required to attend school pursuant to the [Compulsory School Attendance Law] Attendance for Success Act, may withdraw from a public school at any time.
D. In adopting and promulgating rules concerning the enrollment of students transferring from a home school or private school to the public schools, the local school board shall provide that the grade level at which the transferring student is placed is appropriate to the age of the student or to the student's score on a student achievement test administered according to the statewide assessment and accountability system.
E. A local school board shall adopt and promulgate rules governing enrollment and re-enrollment at public schools other than charter schools within the school district. These rules shall include:
(1) definition of the school district boundary and the boundaries of attendance areas for each public school;
(2) for each public school, definition of the boundaries of areas outside the school district boundary or within the school district but outside the public school's attendance area and within a distance of the public school that would not be served by a school bus route as determined pursuant to Section 22-16-4 NMSA 1978 if enrolled, which areas shall be designated as "walk zones";
(3) priorities for enrollment of students as follows:
(a) first, students residing within the school district and within the attendance area of a public school and students who had resided in the attendance area prior to a parent who is an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States or member of the national guard being deployed and whose deployment has required the student to relocate outside the attendance area for custodial care;
[(b) second, students enrolled in a school rated as "F" for two of the prior four years pursuant to the A-B-C-D-F Schools Rating Act;
(c) third] (b) second, students who previously attended the public school; [and]
(c) third, students who attended a public school that was not a charter school and that was closed pursuant to Section 2 of this 2021 act; and
(d) fourth, all other applicants;
(4) establishment of maximum allowable class size if smaller than that permitted by law; and
(5) rules pertaining to grounds for denial of enrollment or re-enrollment at schools within the school district and the school district's hearing and appeals process for such a denial. Grounds for denial of enrollment or re-enrollment shall be limited to:
(a) a student's expulsion from any school district or private school in this state or any other state during the preceding twelve months; or
(b) a student's behavior in another school district or private school in this state or any other state during the preceding twelve months that is detrimental to the welfare or safety of other students or school employees.
F. In adopting and promulgating rules governing enrollment and re-enrollment at public schools other than charter schools within the school district, a local school board may establish additional enrollment preferences for rules admitting students in accordance with the third and fourth priorities of enrollment set forth in Subparagraphs (c) and (d) of Paragraph (3) of Subsection E of this section. The additional enrollment preferences may include:
(1) after-school child care for students;
(2) child care for siblings of students attending the public school;
(3) children of employees employed at the public school;
(4) extreme hardship;
(5) location of a student's previous school;
(6) siblings of students already attending the public school; and
(7) student safety.
G. As long as the maximum allowable class size established by law or by rule of a local school board, whichever is lower, is not met or exceeded in a public school by enrollment of first- and second-priority persons, the public school shall enroll other persons applying in the priorities stated in the school district rules adopted pursuant to Subsections E and F of this section. If the maximum would be exceeded by enrollment of an applicant in the second through fourth priority, the public school shall establish a waiting list. As classroom space becomes available, persons highest on the waiting list within the highest priority on the list shall be notified and given the opportunity to enroll."
SECTION 2. A new section of the Assessment and Accountability Act is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] CLOSURE OF PUBLIC SCHOOL--PARENTAL DEMAND.--
A. A local school board or chartering authority if the school is a charter school shall close a public school if at least fifty percent of the parents of the students attending that public school sign a petition during the school year demanding closure based on low student academic performance, ineffective teacher performance or poor management and present that petition to the local school board or chartering authority within the same school year.
B. If a petition is delivered to a local school board or chartering authority pursuant to Subsection A of this section, the school shall be closed at the end of the semester in which the petition is delivered.
C. A public school that is closed pursuant to this section shall not reopen in the school year in which it is closed. To reopen in a subsequent school year, a public school closed pursuant to this section shall meet the following conditions:
(1) the public school has employed new leadership, including the school principal and vice principal or head administrator, deputy or vice head administrator or other equivalent positions; provided that if the school is a charter school, the chartering authority shall replace at least fifty percent of the governing body members prior to the governing body employing new leadership;
(2) the public school has employed new licensed school employees; provided that a licensed school employee who was employed at the public school immediately preceding its closure may reapply for employment with the school if it is reopened and may be rehired if the new school leadership determines rehire is in the best interest of the students and the school;
(3) for a public school that does not receive a condition rating, as measured by the New Mexico condition index in the Public School Capital Outlay Act, equal to or better than the average condition for all New Mexico public schools during the year in which that school is closed, the public school shall achieve a rating equal to or better than the average New Mexico condition index prior to reopening; and
(4) the public school has engaged in significant outreach to the school community, including parents, students, school employees and other community members, and has developed, in collaboration with the school community, a reopening plan that identifies the root causes of low student academic performance, ineffective teacher performance or poor management and enumerates the goals of the school community and the ways in which those goals shall be achieved.
D. A student who attended a closed public school that is not a charter school shall be granted preference to transfer to another noncharter public school within the school district. A student shall not be granted preference to attend a charter school. The school district shall not be responsible for providing transportation to students transferring pursuant to this subsection."
SECTION 3. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2021.
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