Welcome to the Legislative Education Study Committee
John M. Sapien
The Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) was created in 1965 as a permanent
committee of the New Mexico Legislature, authorized by statute to
conduct a continuing study of all education in New Mexico, the laws governing such
education and the policies and costs of the New Mexico educational system . . .
, recommend changes in laws relating to education, . . . and make a full report
of its findings and recommendations. . . .
The LESC is composed of 26 legislators (10 voting, 16 advisory) appointed to provide
proportionate representation of both houses and political parties. Assisted by a
permanent staff, the committee meets regularly during the interim between legislative
sessions to study education issues. To fulfill its statutory responsibilities, the
LESC attempts to provide all legislators with objective information pertaining to
New Mexico public schools as well as to state and national education trends.
OPERATIONS OF THE LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION STUDY COMMITTEE
Work During the Legislative Interim. During any particular interim, issues
studied by the LESC are identified by the committee or individual legislators, or
they are requested by the Legislature through legislative memorials.
The office of the LESC is located in Santa Fe, where the meetings are often held.
The committee also regularly travels to other communities to meet in local schools
and to invite wider public participation in LESC meetings. Typical meetings consist
of reports by the LESC staff, supplemented by testimony from the Public Education
Department, the Higher Education Department, or other agencies, as well as testimony
from various parties interested in a particular issue. This process ensures that
committee meetings provide forums for school personnel and other citizens to present
their opinions on education matters to legislators.
The LESC staff supports the committee by conducting research, preparing reports,
and presenting findings and recommendations to the committee at its regularly scheduled
meetings. Staff members also are available to assist individual legislators in obtaining
information about education, analyzing potential legislation, and providing other
Each year, the LESC provides the Legislature with a report of its activities, summarizing
the findings of interim studies and the recommendations of the committee for action
during the upcoming legislative session. Hard copies of the report are distributed
to members of the Legislature, to other legislative offices, and to certain offices
of the executive branch. In addition, education associations receive electronic
copies, which they are encouraged to forward to their members; and the report is
available on the LESC website, http://lesc.nmlegis.gov. Other information, such
as agendas and minutes of meetings and staff reports, is also accessible on this
Finally, the office of the LESC serves as a resource to New Mexico citizens, particularly
to public schools, as well as to other states and national organizations seeking
information about education in New Mexico. Using local, state, and national resources,
networks, and databases, the staff provides information to legislators, education
policy-makers, and local school districts and education agencies. Staff members
also assist school personnel with their requests related to education.
Work During Legislative Sessions. The major responsibility of LESC staff
during legislative sessions is to assist the education and finance committees of
the two houses, as well as other committees, by providing analyses of public school-related
legislation under consideration and by supplying technical support in the development
of public school support appropriations. In this role, staff members prepare expository,
statistical, and graphic analyses of both financial and programmatic aspects of
the New Mexico educational system; staff members also assist individual legislators
in the initial stages of drafting legislation and help legislators analyze potential
advantages and disadvantages of measures under consideration.