KUNM Local
2:44 pm
Mon April 19, 2010

U.S. Sen. Bingaman (D-NM): Proposed legislation could prevent teacher layoffs

Albuquerque, NM – School boards in Albuquerque and Santa Fe are saying that teacher layoffs and school closures may be necessary.

New Mexico U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman has co-sponsored legislation that he says could relieve some financial pressure the economic downturn has placed on school officials.

He said, "I don't think education is something that you want to fund just when the economy is strong you want to fund it all the time."

The economic stimulus bill that was passed last year provided some federal money for education, over $500 million to New Mexico. But that funding is set to run out in December, right in the middle of the 2010-2011 school year.

Bingaman says the new legislation would extend federal education assistance into the middle of 2011.

"New Mexico school districts would know that they had that funding available and would know that they do not have to lay off teachers," Bingaman said.

The Keep Our Educators Working Act was introduced in the Senate last week and would provide around $23 billion in aid to public school districts and colleges across the country, about half as much as the stimulus bill.