KUNM

How To Pay For Early Childhood Education?

Feb 1, 2016

Lawmakers considered proposals Monday that would use a small share of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education, and the measures ran into familiar roadblocks.

For the past five years, some democratic lawmakers have tried to tap into the state’s $14 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education programs.

They say that money would go a long way towards fixing New Mexico’s problems with child poverty and teen pregnancy.

But Republicans who oppose the plan have said for years that the fund is not meant to be used for social programs - they shot down the proposal in a House committee Monday.

“We’re not going to give up," said Veronica Garcia of New Mexico Voices for Children, one of the groups supporting the measures. "We have to fund early childhood education in a more bold and significant manner if we’re going to get the kind of outcomes that we need.”

A senate version of the proposal passed one committee and is headed to another. Garcia says getting that measure through the House will be an uphill fight, if it even gets there.