New Mexico Nursing Board Puts College On Notice – The Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican
Santa Fe Community College won't be able to accept any new students into its nursing program until its graduates' test results improve or it wins an appeal.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the state nursing board has placed the college's nursing program on conditional status for two years due to low scores on licensing exams.
The passing rate for the exams is 80 percent. Students at the college averaged between 72 percent and 79 percent in the last three years.
College leaders plan to ask the board to reconsider the program's status based on improved test scores for the first quarter of 2017.
Eighty-six percent of students in the associate degree program and 90 percent in the bachelor's program passed the most recent licensure exam.
Troubled Santa Fe Art, Design School To Close In Spring 2018 – The Associated Press
The Santa Fe University of Art and Design will be closing in the spring of 2018.
School administrators made the announcement Wednesday, citing ongoing financial challenges and the need to offer their roughly 650 students more clarity about the school's future.
Still, administrators say they are considering other options, such as public-private partnerships that can further the mission of the campus.
The school is owned by Laureate International Universities. The city of Santa Fe leases the campus to the university for $2.2 million a year. Laureate had hoped to sell its assets to Raffles Education Corp. of Singapore, but the deal stalled.
The school has transfer arrangements with several accredited institutions. Administrators say the goal is to see eligible students transfer with as little financial or academic disruption as possible.
Santa Fe District Considers Closing Two Schools – Santa Fe New Mexican
Budget woes are prompting Santa Fe Public Schools to explore the possibility of shuttering Nava and E.J. Martinez elementary schools this fall.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the district has a possible budget shortfall of up to $9.45 million. Superintendent Veronica Garcia said much of that is due to possible cuts at the state level and potential drops in federal funding.
Lawmakers and Gov. Susana Martinez are locked in a battle over a final budget and she plans to call a special session. The legislature crafted a budget that would take about $1.9 million from Santa Fe Public Schools’ cash reserves and reduce funding to the district.
Garcia said the district might also see cuts of up to 10 percent from federal sources. The school board wants a study on the financial and academic impact of closing Nava and E.J. Martinez schools before making a decision in coming weeks.
Wildlife Conservationists Sue Over Proposed Border Wall – The Associated Press
A conservation group and an Arizona congressman have filed what they say is the first federal lawsuit against the proposed border wall.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Tucson by the Center for Biological Diversity and U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, a southern Arizona Democrat.
Wildlife conservationists say the wall would be detrimental to rare animals such as jaguars and ocelots that are known to traverse the international line.
The lawsuit seeks to require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to put together a report on the environmental impact of construction of the wall and expanded operations on the U.S.-Mexico border.
President Donald Trump has promised to build the wall and make Mexico pay for it, though Mexico has refused.
NMSU Weighs Downsizing In Wake Of State Budget Cuts – The Associated Press & The El Paso Times
New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers says the university is considering merging colleges and cutting programs amid ongoing state budget cuts.
The El Paso Times reported (http://bit.ly/2o5Qbkc) Tuesday that Carruthers spoke about potential options for the Las Cruces-based school at a public forum this week.
His comments came after New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the state's entire higher education budget Friday. A special session will now be held for lawmakers to determine funding for colleges and universities as part of the state budget for fiscal year 2018.
Carruthers is calling on business leaders to lobby legislators and Martinez to adequately fund higher education.
He says NMSU has been reorganizing its departments to be more cost efficient.
The university cut 89 vacant positions and 37 filled positions last summer.
Las Cruces Officials To Hold Education Town Hall – Associated Press
The city of Las Cruces is teaming up with the local public school district to host a town hall to discuss education funding concerns in Doña Ana County.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima said Tuesday that schools in the southern New Mexico community are facing a real threat from a potential lack of funding due to actions by state officials. The mayor called it a serious issue.
The Democrat-led Legislature and GOP Gov. Susana Martinez are locked in a standoff over the state budget, a lack of revenue and a push by some to raise taxes to fund government programs.
The town hall will be Thursday evening at Las Cruces City Hall. Las Cruces Superintendent Greg Ewing and representatives of the school board and the Doña Ana County Commission have been invited.
New Mexico Grapples With No-Bond Detention Law – Associated Press
Prosecutors and public defenders are turning to the New Mexico Supreme Court for guidance on how to apply new constitutional provisions that can keep an accused person jailed without bond until trial.
Justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments Wednesday aimed at clarifying what evidence must be presented at detention hearings to justify holding a defendant without bail.
The court will focus on three criminal cases from the Albuquerque-based Second Judicial District, where District Attorney Raul Torrez has requested dozens of no-bond detentions with limited success.
Torrez says two well-documented requests for pre-trial detention were denied simply because no witnesses were called. In another case, a public defender says his client was denied bail without clear and convincing evidence that she posed a danger.
New Mexico Lawmakers Ponder Next Move In Budget Standoff – Associated Press
Leading New Mexico lawmakers will gather this week to weigh the consequences of the governor's veto of funding for the legislative branch of government in the coming fiscal year.
The 16-member Legislative Council that oversees Statehouse business in between legislative sessions scheduled a meeting for Thursday to consider how it might respond to major line-item budget vetoes by Gov. Susana Martinez.
The Republican governor vetoed the staff budget for the state's unsalaried Legislature, along with funding to all state universities and colleges. She wants to renegotiate a budget deal after vetoing proposed increases to taxes and fees.
Legislative Council Service Director Raul Burciaga says researchers have been unable to find similar instances of any state governor effectively defunding a legislature. Some Democratic lawmakers say they are looking into legal action.
New Mexico On Track To Meet Federal Education Mandates – Associated Press
New Mexico is moving ahead with plans to keep setting high expectations for students and public schools as it works to meet federal mandates aimed at resetting the outdated and widely criticized No Child Left Behind education law.
The state on Tuesday made public its plan for implementing the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, a law signed by former President Barack Obama that addresses school ratings, student report cards and other ways to spot and help troubled schools.
State Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says New Mexico is one of about 15 states that were ready to submit plans to the federal government this month.
She says the state is among the leaders since many of the accountability measures in the federal law were put in place by New Mexico several years ago.
New Mexico Snowpack Survives Record Warm Weather In March – Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press
Forecasters say New Mexico will have a healthy spring runoff despite seeing the warmest March on record threaten the state's snowpack.
The Albuquerque Journal reports New Mexico had a return to cool, wet weather late last month, leaving heavy snowpack in the northern part of the state.
According to the National Weather Service, the average statewide temperature for March was 51.4 degrees, which beat out the previous record set in March 2010 of 49.8 degrees.
Meteorologist Kerry Jones says the weather started to cool down after a March 23 storm hit Colorado and shifted farther south, bringing a series of storms to New Mexico.
Farmers and the endangered silvery minnow are expected to benefit from this year's spring runoff, which typically peaks in mid-May.
Pot Dispensary To Remain Open Despite State Fair Violation – Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press
A judge has issued a ruling that prohibits the New Mexico Health Department from imposing a penalty against a medical marijuana dispensary for displaying a marijuana plant at last summer's State Fair.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Judge David Thomson ruled Monday that requiring New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health to close for five days was an excessive punishment not supported by law. He did uphold a $100 fine for the dispensary.
The nonprofit marijuana producer had filed a petition saying the closure would've resulted in a loss of $150,000 and deprived patients of medicine.
Top Organics-Ultra Health Chief Financial Officer Duke Rodriquez says State Fair officials gave the producer permission to display the plant before they received complaints from "higher up" that it needed to be removed.
New Mexico Selects New Mexico State's Weir As New Head Coach – Associated Press
New Mexico turned to its own backyard for a new men's basketball coach by selecting New Mexico State first-year coach Paul Weir to lead the Lobos.
Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs announced the selection Tuesday. Weir will be formally introduced during an afternoon news conference.
Weir set a school record with 28 wins with New Mexico State., leading the Aggies to a Western Athletic Conference tournament championship and an NCAA berth.
He replaces Craig Neal, ousted after four years as head coach and another six as associate head coach under Steve Alford.
Weir will become the first head coach to have been at both of New Mexico's Division-I schools.
He spent nine seasons at New Mexico as an assistant coach under Marvin Menzies before he left for UNLV.