Legislature: Bill Investing Millions In Native And Underserved NM Schools Passes Committee Unanimously


Correcting decades of imbalance in the distribution of federal education funding, House Bill 6 unanimously passed the House Education Committee today. This legislation will direct federal Impact Aid funds received by New Mexico to historically underserved schools in the state, including those with largely Native American populations.  

Currently, Impact Aid funds are not fully distributed to their intended destinations at schools primarily serving students of color. Rather, 75% of this funding goes into the State Equalization Guarantee (SEG), which administers public education dollars to each school district across the state.  

Sponsored by Rep. Patty Lundstrom (D-Gallup), Speaker of the House Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe), Harry Garcia (D-Grants), and Rep. D. Wonda Johnson (D-Church Rock), House Bill 6 corrects this discrepancy by removing the 75% credit, as well as the local half-million property tax levy and federal forest reserve fund revenues, from the SEG. Instead, an equivalent amount of funding will go to tribal and other historically underserved school districts across the state.  

“House Bill 6 addresses issues unearthed in the 2019 Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit, which highlighted achievement gaps for Native American students and noted deficiencies in the implementation of the Indian Education Act,” said. Rep. Lundstrom. “Removing the Impact Aid Credit also means New Mexico is no longer required to submit a disparity test to the U.S. Department of Education, which reduces uncertainties for our Public Education Department.”  

“House Bill 6 will correct an educational inequity that has developed over the years,” said Speaker Egolf. “It’s high time to halt this nearly 50-year-old policy and provide New Mexico’s most underserved school districts with the full benefits of the state and federal funding that they deserve and need to succeed.”  

“You can’t win a race starting 50 yards behind, but that’s the position our minority students have been in for far too long,” said Rep. Garcia. “The changes in House Bill 6 have been a long time coming, and we’re looking forward to seeing its impact in our communities who need it most.” 

“In 2021, we are finally redirecting federal Impact Aid funds to those who should have had it all along as their birthright,” said. Rep. Johnson. “House Bill 6 addresses the vital need for essential resources in Native schools and the huge education gaps that are holding back Native students.”  

House Bill 6 passed the House Education Committee in a unanimous 14-0 vote and will now head to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.  

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.