Legislature: Native Education Funding Passes House Education Committee


Preserves Native languages and adjusts state funding for at-risk tribal communities

Bold new legislation to address inequities in New Mexico’s support of its Native American students passed the House Education Committee Monday. 

Sponsored by Rep. Derrick Lente (D-Sandia Pueblo), Rep. Georgene Louis (D-Albuquerque), and D. Wonda Johnson (D-Church Rock), House Bill 84 amends the public-school formula by: 

  • Creating a Native language education program unit
  • Adding Native American student enrollment rates as a component in the at-risk index
  • Allowing tribal education departments to receive distributions from the Public-School Fund, as well as those generated by the Native language program unit

“House Bill 84 is truly a paradigm shift in the approach that New Mexico has taken to support its at-risk student populations, including Native American students. Overcoming long-standing inequities requires bold legislation such as this,” said Rep. Lente. “House Bill 84 advances equity by making the state equalization guarantee more inclusive of Native American students.”

“House Bill 84 is a matter of equity and justice. It will make sure that public school funding no longer bypasses Native American children,” said Rep. Louis. “Without House Bill 84, systemic inequities in state education funding will continue.”

“Education experts and advocates agree that funding should be equitable, targeted, and locally controlled to ensure success for at-risk students in our state, including Native American students,” said Rep. Johnson. 

House Bill 84 passed the House Education Committee with a 10-4 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.