PED NEWS RELEASE
Amid an ongoing educator workforce crisis, the Public Education Department announced today it is waiving all fees for license applications and background checks through the end of March to encourage New Mexicans to apply for a wide range of school jobs. “New Mexico needs teachers and educational assistants and counselors and school nurses. The list goes on and on,” said Secretary (Designate) Kurt Steinhaus, who first revealed the plan during a Senate Education Committee hearing Monday. “By waiving the fee to get one of these licenses, we hope to send a message loud and clear that we want you and need you.”
The announcement expands on the Public Education Department’s move Jan. 19 to temporarily waive the $50 application fee for new or renewing substitute teachers and educational assistants. That aligned with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Supporting Teachers and Families program to encourage state government employees and National Guard members to volunteer as substitute teachers.
Since then, the department has received 559 applications for substitute teaching licenses (including 48 over the weekend) and issued 266. The others are pending submission of missing documents or a background check. The department also received 206 applications for educational assistant licenses and issued 102.
The Public Education Department issues 35 specific educator licenses in five categories: administrators, teachers, instructional support providers (counselors, nurses, interpreters, for example), support providers (educational assistants, coaches and substitute teachers, for example) and school business officials.
Fees vary depending on the license, ranging from $35 for an athletic or attendance coach to $320 for a teacher seeking an advanced license by submitting a professional development dossier. Applying for a first-time K-8 teaching license usually costs $150, and renewal is $120.
Every license requires a background check conducted by an outside contractor, usually at a cost of $44. That fee, too, has been waived through March 31.
“We encourage educators to use this opportunity to renew existing licenses and apply for advanced licenses at no cost,” said Seana Flanagan, the department’s director of Educator Quality and Ethics. “We are delighted to be able to offer this savings to the hard-working individuals who keep our public schools running and our children learning.”