Some New Mexico schools are struggling to comply with new K-5 Plus standards set by the state and will subsequently not be offering the program this year.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the deadline recently passed for districts to apply for funds earmarked for the new K-5 Plus program. Lawmakers say the program, which adds an extra 25 school days to the year for students from kindergarten to fifth grade, has been shown to have a positive effect on students' academic performance. The new program comes as part of the education omnibus bill, which Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law earlier this month. Among other sweeping changes, the bill set aside money for for the program and made it a requirement for all schools requesting funding for the summer session.
However the law also requires that each child's summer teacher remain with that child through the following school year. Some districts and charter schools say they don't have enough teachers to fulfill the requirements and must do without the program this year. Some of those schools previously offered K-3 Plus, a precursor to the new program.
The Public Education Department said it will notify districts and charter schools of whether they were approved for the program and how much funding they will receive by May 6.
School districts will be able to apply for future K-5 Plus funding in October.
Otero County Declares State of Emergency
Authorities in one New Mexico county are asking that the governor reinstate interior border checkpoints that were closed down earlier this month.
According to KRQE, Otero County Commissioners unanimously voted to declare a state of emergency last week in a bid to force the governor to reopen interior border patrol checkpoints and deploy the National Guard back to the border.
Last month, Border Patrol closed down several interior checkpoints, including those in New Mexico. The agency said the shutdown is only a temporary measure. Agents have been reassigned to the nation's southern border to help with the increased number of asylum seekers attempting to gain entrance to the country.
Otero County Commission Chair Couy Griffin said local law enforcement has seen a spike in criminal activity since the checkpoints were closed. “The state of emergency is pretty much just a shoutout—a cry for help to get our checkpoints back open,” Griffin told reporters.
The governor's office said the National Guard does not operate federal checkpoints and suggested the county should discuss its issues with Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Transgender Troops Welcome in NM
A spokesperson for Gov. Lujan Grisham told reporters last week that despite a ban implemented by the Trump administration, transgender troops will be able to serve in New Mexico's National Guard.
According to KOB, a new Trump administration policy bars transgender recruits from joining US armed forces unless they serve as the gender they were assigned at birth. Last week, Tripp Stelnicki, the governor's communications director, said, “We are not going to discharge any transgender individual from serving in our state National Guard, nor would this state ever discriminate against someone based on their gender identity.”
The National Guard is controlled by the state government.