Alibi V.27 No.38 • Sept 20-26, 2018 

Newscity

Pearce to Release Tax Returns

The News Monkey

Republican candidate for governor Rep. Steve Pearce says he plans to release his tax return statements in mid-October.

According to The Associated Press, Pearce plans to release the documents as the fulfillment of a promise he made earlier this year. In May, Democratic candidate Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham released five years worth of tax returns following criticism of her involvement with Delta Consulting, a company that helped run a high-risk insurance pool. In an attempt at transparency, the candidate published all of her federal and state tax returns since 2013 in their entirety online. At the time, she urged Pearce to do the same. But critics say Pearce waited too long to release the documents, a delay he blames on having to wait for information from independent businesses that sought extensions.

Candidates are not legally required to release their tax information to the public. Absentee voting begins Oct. 9 in the general election.

N.M. Teacher Performance Improving

An evaluation of the state's public school teachers has found an increase in the number of educators receiving high performance ratings.

The New Mexico Public Education Department released its annual teacher evaluations last week and announced that there are over 1,000 more teachers that were rated “Highly Effective” or “Exemplary” than there were in 2015. There were also nearly 1,000 fewer teachers labeled “Minimally Effective” or “Ineffective” this year. According to Education Week, 34 percent of the state's teachers received the 2 highest ratings and around 75 percent of teachers were graded as effective or better.

The education department also reports an increase in the number of economically disadvantaged students being taught by “Highly Effective” or “Exemplary” teachers. A press release from the department says over 30 percent of these students are now being taught by the highest ranked teachers, compared to about 17 percent between 2014 and 2015.

Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski says the number of highly rated teachers has steadily risen since the evaluation system was introduced in 2013.

Court Blocks Straight-Ticket Option

The New Mexico Supreme Court blocked an attempt to add a straight-ticket voting option to November's general ballot.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced the return of the straight-ticket option, which would have allowed voters to cast a single vote for their chosen party and apply it to all the races. However a lawsuit was filed against Toulouse Oliver, claiming she didn't have the authority to reintroduce the option, which was removed in 2001. Questions were also raised about the timing of the decision, considering Toulouse Oliver will be running for reelection in two months.

Last week the state Supreme Court unanimously decided against including the option on the ballot, saying only the Legislature had the power to reverse the 2001 change.