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UPDATE: LEGISLATIVE CALL TO ACTION!

As of Friday, 2/8, here's the update:

HB5 is the ONLY bill being heard Saturday morning at 9am.  LET’S GET LOUD.  This is THE BEST place for our voices to be heard, and we NEED you to come to the capitol and help us defend this harmful bill.   The bill will be heard on the House floor, and not 309. This bill:

1. Places an enrollment cap on charter schools at 27,000 students (just 500 more than we currently enroll).
2. It eliminates small school size adjustment for schools in districts with less than 2,000 students enrolled.
3. Places an age cap at 21 years of age

How one or any of the above hurts your students is the key to good testimony.  Additional talking points can be found below.

Please also see this analysis, which includes how schools are impacted on the last 4 pages:

https://nmlegis.gov/Sessions/19%20Regular/LESCAnalysis/HB0005.PDF 

This attack on charter schools is conveniently placed as part of a remedy to the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit.  Of the issues below, only one of them (small school size) was included in Judge Singleton’s 40+ page ruling.  The rest is packaged in a vehicle that suffocates charter schools in NM.

This bill provides for a cap for statewide charter school student enrollment at 27,000 and allows PED to set new enrollment caps for schools based on performance.
Thousands of students are waiting for an opportunity to attend a charter school.  This provision denies that opportunity to those students.
A number of charter schools will close because they will not be able to grow to become sustainable.  This bill also eliminates small school size adjustment.  The enrollment cap does not allow schools to increase in size and serve more students.  If charter schools can’t grow and lose small school size adjustment, many will close.

The effects of this cap will occur well after charter schools have let families know that they have been admitted to their school.  This puts the PED in a position to be directly moving families from one school to another.

Charters are becoming victims of their own success.  Despite the number of charter schools remaining about the same over the last 5 years, enrollment has increased dramatically.  Students are choosing charter schools, which are provided for in New Mexico state law.  Why should we stop students and families from choosing educational options that are right for students and their learning styles?

This is an erosion of local control.  Our authorizers, whether districts or the state, represent our communities and have worked with charter schools for appropriate enrollment caps.  Will the legislature consider this for school districts as well?

What will high-performance mean to this new administration? It is unclear and policy should not be made without clear parameters on school performance measures.

Current enrollment in charter schools in New Mexico is 26,508 students (2018 40-day count).

This bill attempts to cut small school size adjustment for urban schools.  Most small urban schools are charter schools and will be impacted the most.
New Mexico funds students, not districts or charter schools.  This bill creates two classes of students – students who go to district schools and get more funding, and charter school students who will get less funding.
The FIR in front of legislators will show that charters are gaining 5-10%.  But costs will go up more than 15%.  This is a cut, plain and simple.
Small schools need extra support to overcome their lack of economies of scale, regardless of their location.
Small charter schools are small because their education program mandates it, or they lack the facility to grow. 

CHARTER SCHOOLS DO NOT CHOOSE TO BE SMALL TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SMALL SCHOOL SUBSIDY.
This bill also provides for an enrollment cap of 27,000 for charter schools.  How will charter schools be able to grow and become sustainable?
Charter schools are considered “LEA’s” and must operate as districts in terms of accountability and compliance.

This bill provides for an age cap of 22 years old.
The cost of serving adult students in New Mexico is $6 million.  Passing this provision into law is telling previous high school dropouts that saving the state $6 million is more important than them getting an education and a real chance at success.
Students served by charter schools over the age of 22 were previously failed by our schools.   Eliminating this funding lets those students know that the state has given up on them.  New Mexico charter schools make an incredible impact on those students.
This provision of the bill will close those schools that were opened with the specific mission of serving adult students who wish to receive a high school diploma; thus, giving them the opportunity to better themselves and their families. This has a positive impact not only for the students but also helps the economy and can decrease the drain on social services.

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SB245 in Senate Education Committee.  This is our facilities bill, which does 4 major things:Sets lease assistance for charter schools at a predictable $700 (plus CPI) per MEM rate
Allows PSFA to enforce the provision that districts make facilities available
Sets aside $20m dollars for a revolving loan fund for charter school facilities
Creates a facility fund for grants to charter schools to pay for facilities

ATC is in full support of this bill.  ATC receives $265,000 in lease reimbursement funds.  Each year the funds are in danger of being reduced.  Facilities are the major obstacle for almost all charter schools.  This bill would have a positive impact on all charter schools including ATC.

Legislators have told us that we shouldn't be worried because we are getting a 14% increase, however, the SFPS is getting 19% increase and the gap is getting larger between the funding for Santa Fe Public School students and ATC students.  While some charters get more per pupil, ATC does not.  This broad brush stroke for equalization has an impact that negatively effects ATC students to the tune of $1,100 less per student.  

The 2019 Legislative Session is underway, and Senate Bill I (SB 1) threatens to undercut New Mexico charter schools and will have a direct negative impact on ATC.  I am asking for the ATC community to let the Senate Education Committee and the Santa Fe delegation know that parents should have a choice in where they send their child to school and that the small school allotment should not be removed from the funding formula and an enrollment cap not be imposed.

We support the goals set forth in Senate Bill 1 and its efforts to address Yazzie vs. Martinez.  Capping charter school enrollment and eliminating the small school allotment do not address those goals and have a negative impact on ATC, which has been one the most highly effective schools in the state.  This bill negatively impacts the very school that serves a high population of at-risk students and is having tremendous success sending first generation students to colleges.

LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION

https://nmlegis.gov/

http://nmccs.org/

NEWS ARTICLES - PLEASE READ

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/legislature/democrats-split-on-charter-school-cap-in-new-mexico/article_592e6348-2191-5e39-9f7a-78a0a3987b1d.html

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/proposals-would-cap-charter-schools-in-new-mexico/article_47b79aa6-0ff4-5df9-85bc-5c7aa48ee34b.html

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jan/21/the-latest-charter-school-advocates-protest-enroll/

https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/new-mexico/legislature/2019/01/21/new-mexico-charter-school-advocates-protest-proposed-enrollment-cap/2639881002/