HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
After school hours will now qualify for extended learning programs funding, under new legislation unanimously passed by the House Appropriations and Finance Committee today.
House Bill 184 adds a new provision to the public school funding formula that allows equivalent instructional hours to qualify for the K-5 Plus and Extended Learning Time programs. Currently, schools can only qualify for the programs by adding 25 full days to their school year. The bill holds bipartisan sponsorship from Rep. G. Andrés Romero (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Candie Sweetser (D-Deming), Rep. Derrick Lente (D-Sandia Pueblo), Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque), and Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences).
“HB184 adds another option and additional flexibility in meeting the diverse needs of our students,” said Rep. Romero. “Rather than extending the school year into the summer, schools will have the option to add additional time to each day and can embed professional development, teacher collaboration and student enrichment activities, which is beneficial to both students and educators.”
“Expanding flexibility for how and when students can participate in supplemental learning will allow districts and teachers to create programs that work for the unique needs of their students, classrooms, and communities,” said Rep. Sweetser. “When the programs fit the schools and the students, participation will increase and more young New Mexicans can reap the benefits of extended learning.”
“House Bill 184 creates another avenue for our schools to provide extra learning opportunities to our students,” said Rep. Lente. “By funding extended days and after-school learning programs, this legislation will allow our students to catch up from pandemic losses and engage in activities that drive home the lessons learned in the classrooms.”
“Extended learning time and K-5 Plus programs provide innovative opportunities for students to gain in-depth academic growth, as well as hands on learning experience,” said Rep. Garratt. “By allowing flexibility in how these programs are delivered, districts and individual schools can more fully address the needs of their students, particularly in light of the disruptions caused by COVID-19.”
Schools must meet a minimum requirement for instructional days to qualify for extended learning funds. Since schools across New Mexico have varied instructional days and hours, an amendment to the bill ensures that schools receiving this funding are adding additional hours to their established school days, rather than benefiting simply by having longer standard hours.
House Bill 184 received a unanimous do pass from the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, and will be heard next on the House Floor.
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.