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2020 New Mexico Legislature

The 2020 New Mexico Legislature was a 30 day session which occurs in even numbered years. This year the RECA asked for an increase, from $1 million which is divided equally across 10 RECs to $3 million which would provide an equitable funding base from which all 10 RECs could have minimal open the door money to offset statutory requirements. The legislature has passed the funding bill and we were unsuccessful in obtaining our request. We did however receive a minimal bump in funding which is $1.1million. Each REC will receive an additional $7,000.00. We are thankful for the additional money but it is evident we have continued work to do around educating the legislative body of the importance of our role in education in New Mexico.

The RECs in New Mexico are a strong collaborative group of 10 agencies that provide amazing work in the mostly rural districts in New Mexico. Here is a synopsis of the RECs.

New Mexico’s Regional Education Cooperatives Collaborating for all Kids!

Vision: Every Student • Every Region • Every Day

Mission: To collaboratively link state, federal, and regional education initiatives to increase access quality programs and improve outcomes for all students.

Desired Outcomes: Appropriated base funding to each Regional Education Service Cooperative to assist in providing:

  • Effective, Efficient, and Equitable use of funds to support systemic delivery and support of state and federal initiatives;
  • Braid initiatives from all NMPED departments to deliver a message of support and consistency; and,
  • Provide regional professional development, in alignment with local, state and federal initiatives that are timely, consistent, and on-going so that internal capacity is developed and sustained in every district.

In 1984, under SBE Regulation No. 84.6, the New Mexico State Board of Education had a vision to coordinate supports and services in order to leverage funds and ensure small rural districts had access to high quality program supports, services, and professional development. The regulation was written to establish Regional Cooperative Centers and then was modified in 1993 by the New Mexico State Legislature to create Regional Education Cooperatives. In the beginning, RECs received special education funding to deliver training, technical assistance, and support to districts in meeting the state and federal students with disabilities guidelines and laws. Through a strong REC partnership, districts received training and support in the SAT process, Positive Behavior Intervention Support system, Least Restrictive Environment and Transition, and their implementation of the Three-Tiered Licensure system. In 2006, NM legislature approved the first REC appropriation of about $103,000 to each REC. This provided approximately 50% of operating costs and has not been adjusted since that time.

Why Change:
It is time for us to respect the path we’ve been on, recognize the shifts that need to occur, and embrace the changes that will produce positive outcomes for all students. Understanding the challenges, we are facing as we work to implement initiatives, we believe a more efficient system of delivery for professional development is a critical component to supporting all districts, especially our state’s small rural districts where one individual has to wear a multitude of “hats.” The initiatives launched in our state are exciting and have the potential to create a learning system of excellence in New Mexico. We are committed to this vision of excellence for all students and are eager to work collaboratively to ensure it’s reality.

By Bryan Dooley