47th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2006


Peter Wirth










     Section 1. [NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--Sections 1 through 9 of this act may be cited as the "New Mexico School for the Arts Act".


          A. The legislature finds that the arts have played an invaluable role in New Mexico's history, culture and economy and are deeply woven into the fabric of New Mexico's diverse peoples and communities. The legislature further finds that ancient, traditional and contemporary creative arts add a richness to the lives of New Mexicans that should be perpetuated through expansion of the opportunities made available to the state's creative, talented youth.

          B. The purpose of the New Mexico School for the Arts Act is to establish a publicly funded statewide high school for the arts to provide free, high quality education and training for New Mexico students with demonstrated artistic abilities and potential.


          A. The "New Mexico school for the arts" is established to provide free, publicly funded education and training in grades nine through twelve for exceptional artistically talented students who are residents of New Mexico and who meet the admissions criteria and standards of the school. The school is a residential high school located in Santa Fe. For purposes of state law, the New Mexico school for the arts is a state institution.

          B. In addition to an academic program similar to that required of public schools, the New Mexico school for the arts shall offer education in visual arts, graphic arts, creative writing, dance, music and theater. In addition to educating students attending the school, the school shall serve as a resource center for public school students, teachers and art programs statewide.

          C. Except as provided in this subsection, the New Mexico school for the arts is expressly exempted from the provisions of the Public School Code and it shall not be subject to the public education department's rules or eligible for funding through the state equalization guarantee distribution. The Compulsory School Attendance Law, the Instructional Material Law, the Technology for Education Act, the School Library Material Act, the Educational Retirement Act and the Public School Insurance Authority Act apply to the New Mexico school for the arts.

          D. The board of trustees shall award a diploma to each student who meets the board's requirements for graduation.

          E. The board of trustees shall be appointed by July 1, 2006 and the first class of the New Mexico school of the arts, which shall be a ninth grade class, shall begin in the 2007-2008 school year as determined by the board. The board shall provide for the addition of one grade each year until the school is offering arts and academic instruction for grades nine through twelve. The board of trustees shall report periodically to the legislative finance committee and the legislative education study committee on its progress in setting up the school, hiring faculty and staff, determining admissions criteria and other requirements, obtaining adequate school and residential facilities, developing its proposed budget and other matters as required by the legislative committees.


          A. The "board of trustees" of the New Mexico school for the arts is created. The board is comprised of nine members who are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate and who are residents of the state as follows:

                (1) two members who are knowledgeable about public schools, including public school curricula, public education department standards and benchmarks and public school finance;

                (2) two members who are knowledgeable about public post-secondary educational institutions, including admissions requirements; and

                (3) five members who are knowledgeable about the arts, including visual arts, Indian arts and culture, Hispanic arts and culture, dance, music, theater or creative writing.

          B. In making the appointments, the governor shall give due consideration to the geographic distribution of the members.

          C. Members shall be appointed for terms of six years; provided that for the initial appointments, three members shall be appointed for six years, three members shall be appointed for four years and three members shall be appointed for two years. Members shall serve until their successors have been appointed and qualified. Vacancies shall be filled by the appointing authority for the remainder of the original terms. Members of the board of trustees shall not receive any compensation.

          D. Members of the board of trustees shall not be removed except for malfeasance or misfeasance in office or neglect of duty.

          E. The governor shall select the chairperson of the board of trustees and the members may elect other officers as they deem necessary.


          A. The board of trustees shall have control over the management and operations of the New Mexico school for the arts and shall:

                (1) determine financial and educational policies of the school;

                (2) provide for the management of the school and execution of its policies by selecting a competent school principal and, upon the principal's recommendation and subject to appropriation, employ other administrative personnel, instructional faculty or other personnel as may be needed for the operation, maintenance and administration of the school and set their salaries pursuant to a salary schedule adopted and promulgated by the board;

                (3) adopt and promulgate school admission criteria, standards and procedures;

                (4) adopt and promulgate rules, standards and benchmarks for the arts instructional program and the academic program;

                (5) adopt and promulgate rules concerning:

                     (a) length of school day and length of school year; provided that the school year shall be at least one hundred eighty days;

                     (b) graduation requirements; and

                     (c) employment, discharge and termination of school faculty and personnel, including evaluation standards and procedures;

                (6) review and approve the annual school budget and submit it to the department of finance and administration;

                (7) provide for an annual audit as provided in the Audit Act;

                (8) provide for the repair and maintenance of all property belonging to the school;

                (9) adopt and promulgate student discipline policies, including suspension or expulsion from school for violations of the policies;

                (10) adopt and promulgate codes of conduct for students, faculty, staff and board members; provided that codes of conduct shall incorporate any state laws pertaining to conduct of public officers and employees and licensed school personnel;

                (11) establish an outreach program to foster and promote public elementary school arts programs throughout the state to educate and identify potential students who may matriculate to the school; and

                (12) provide an annual accountability report to the governor, the legislature and the public on the school's operations, including:

                     (a) a financial summary;

                     (b) information about the arts instructional program and academic program, including faculty qualifications;

                     (c) student assessments, including student demographics, student academic performance and graduation rates;

                     (d) a survey of parents' views of the school and its performance;

                     (e) the results of a self-assessment by the trustees, faculty, staff and students on the school's effectiveness in meeting its goals in the arts instruction and academic programs; and

                     (f) the results of any third-party evaluation or accreditation of the school's programs received by the trustees since the last accountability report, if applicable.

          B. The board of trustees may:

                (1) adopt and promulgate rules to carry out the provisions of the New Mexico School for the Arts Act;

                (2) sue and be sued;

                (3) enter into contracts and other agreements in accordance with the provisions of the Procurement Code;

                (4) have the attorney general be the board's attorney or hire an attorney to give advice and counsel in regard to any matter connected with the duties of the board and to represent the board in any legal proceedings;

                (5) within constitutional and statutory limitations, acquire, lease and dispose of property;

                (6) apply for and receive, in the name of the school, any public or private funds, including United States government funds, available to the school to carry out its programs, duties or services;

                (7) accept or reject any charitable gift, grant, devise or bequest. The particular gift, grant, devise or bequest accepted shall be considered an asset of the school;

                (8) give prior approval for any educational or other program in the school that is to be conducted, sponsored, carried on or caused to be carried on by a private organization or agency; and

                (9) do such other things as are necessary to carry out the purposes of the New Mexico School for the Arts Act and ensure the accountability of the school and its programs.

     Section 6. [NEW MATERIAL] RULEMAKING.--The board of trustees may adopt and promulgate such reasonable rules as may be necessary to carry out its duties and those of the New Mexico school for the arts. Rules shall be adopted, amended or repealed after a public hearing on the proposed action before the board of trustees or a hearing officer designated by the board. The public hearing shall be held in Santa Fe unless otherwise permitted by statute. Notice of the subject matter of the rule, the action proposed to be taken, the time and place of the hearing, the manner in which interested persons may present their views and the method by which copies of the proposed rule or proposed amendment or repeal of an existing rule may be obtained shall be published once at least thirty days prior to the hearing date in a newspaper of general circulation and mailed at least thirty days prior to the hearing date to all persons who have made a written request for advance notice of the hearing. All rules shall be filed in accordance with the State Rules Act.


          A. The New Mexico school for the arts is subject to the provisions of Chapter 6, Article 3 NMSA 1978; provided, however, that upon the determination of the dates for the school's school year, the board of trustees and the state budget division of the department of finance and administration may agree on a date other than September 1 for the submission of the school's proposed budget and may agree on a date other than May 1 for the submission of the school's operating budget. Proposed budgets for the ensuing fiscal year shall be submitted to the state budget division and the legislative finance committee by the agreed-upon date. The legislature shall appropriate money to the school as it does to other state agencies and institutions in the general appropriation act.

          B. The New Mexico school for the arts is subject to the provisions of the Accountability in Government Act. The Surety Bond Act applies to the trustees and employees of the school.

          C. The board of trustees may apply to the secretary of finance and administration to have the school issue warrants and be exempt from prior submission of vouchers, purchase orders and contracts pursuant to Section 6-5-9 NMSA 1978.


          A. The chief administrative and executive officer of the New Mexico school for the arts is the principal, who shall be a New Mexico licensed school administrator.

          B. The arts instructional program of the school shall be comprised of faculty who:

                (1) hold advanced degrees in recognized arts fields; or

                (2) are practicing master artists whose artistic expertise has been recognized by state or national arts organizations to the satisfaction of the board of trustees.

          C. Arts instructional faculty are not required to be licensed by the public education department, but they shall participate annually in professional development programs approved by the school principal that are modeled on national research-based professional development standards for instructional staff and artists.

          D. The arts instructional faculty may be supplemented by artists in residence or other visiting, part-time or adjunct faculty who are recognized for their accomplishments in their field of artistic endeavor and who are exempt from degree, licensing and professional development requirements provided for in this section.

          E. The academic program shall be comprised of faculty who hold teaching licenses issued by the public education department.

          F. The board of trustees shall approve the courses offered in the arts instructional program and the academic program.


          A. The New Mexico school for the arts shall admit and enroll students in accordance with the admission criteria, standards and procedures promulgated by the board of trustees. The board may provide for the formation of one or more admissions committees that will make admissions recommendations to the school principal.

          B. Applicants shall demonstrate:

                (1) proof of New Mexico residency;

                (2) artistic talent, which may be by audition, portfolio review or other method as determined by the board of trustees; and

                (3) a high degree of commitment to the arts, motivation and maturity.

     Section 10. Section 22-1-2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2003, Chapter 153, Section 3, as amended by Laws 2005, Chapter 313, Section 3 and by Laws 2005, Chapter 315, Section 1) is amended to read:

     "22-1-2. DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Public School Code:

          A. "adequate yearly progress" means the measure adopted by the department based on federal requirements to assess the progress that a student, a public school or school district or the state makes toward improving student achievement;

          B. "commission" means the public education commission;

          C. "department" means the public education department;

          D. "forty-day report" means the report of qualified student membership of each school district and of those eligible to be qualified students but enrolled in a private school or a home school for the first forty days of school;

          E. "home school" means the operation by the parent of a school-age person of a home study program of instruction that provides a basic academic educational program, including reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science;

          F. "instructional support provider" means a person who is employed to support the instructional program of a school district, including an educational assistant, school counselor, social worker, school nurse, speech-language pathologist, psychologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, recreational therapist, interpreter for the deaf and diagnostician;

          G. "licensed school employee" means teachers, school administrators and instructional support providers;

          H. "local school board" means the policy-setting body of a school district;

          I. "local superintendent" means the chief executive officer of a school district;

          J. "parent" includes a guardian or other person having custody and control of a school-age person;

          K. "private school" means a school, other than a home school, that offers on-site programs of instruction and that is not under the control, supervision or management of a local school board;

          L. "public school" means that part of a school district that is a single attendance center in which instruction is offered by one or more teachers and is discernible as a building or group of buildings generally recognized as either an elementary, middle, junior high or high school or any combination [of those] and includes a charter school;

          M. "school" means a supervised program of instruction designed to educate a student in a particular place, manner and subject area;

          N. "school administrator" means a person licensed to administer in a school district and includes school principals and central district administrators;

          O. "school-age person" means a person who is at least five years of age prior to 12:01 a.m. on September 1 of the school year and who has not received a high school diploma or its equivalent. A maximum age of twenty-one shall be used for a person who is classified as special education membership as defined in Section 22-8-21 NMSA 1978 or as a resident of a state institution;

          P. "school building" means a public school, an administration building and related school structures or facilities, including teacher housing, that is owned, acquired or constructed by the school district as necessary to carry out the functions of the school district;

          Q. "school bus private owner" means a person, other than a school district, the department, the state or any other political subdivision of the state, that owns a school bus;

          R. "school district" means an area of land established as a political subdivision of the state for the administration of public schools and segregated geographically for taxation and bonding purposes;

          S. "school employee" includes licensed and nonlicensed employees of a school district;

          T. "school principal" means the chief instructional leader and administrative head of a public school;

          U. "school year" means the total number of contract days offered by public schools in a school district during a period of twelve consecutive months;

          V. "secretary" means the secretary of public education;

          W. "state agency" or "state institution" means the New Mexico military institute, New Mexico school for the blind and visually impaired, New Mexico school for the deaf, New Mexico school for the arts, New Mexico boys' school, New Mexico girls' school, New Mexico youth diagnostic and development center, Sequoyah adolescent treatment center, Carrie Tingley crippled children's hospital, New Mexico behavioral health institute at Las Vegas and any other state agency responsible for educating resident children;

          X. "state educational institution" means an institution enumerated in Article 12, Section 11 of the constitution of New Mexico;

          Y. "substitute teacher" means a person who holds a certificate to substitute for a teacher in the classroom;

          Z. "teacher" means a person who holds a level one, two or three-A license and whose primary duty is classroom instruction or the supervision, below the school principal level, of an instructional program or whose duties include curriculum development, peer intervention, peer coaching or mentoring or serving as a resource teacher for other teachers;

          AA. "certified school instructor" means a teacher or instructional support provider; and

          BB. "certified school employee" or "certified school personnel" means a licensed school employee."

     Section 11. Section 22-2-2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1967, Chapter 16, Section 5, as amended) is amended to read:

     "22-2-2. DEPARTMENT--GENERAL DUTIES.--The department shall:

           A. properly and uniformly enforce the provisions of the Public School Code;

          B. determine policy for the operation of all public schools and vocational education programs in the state, including vocational programs that are part of a juvenile construction industries initiative for juveniles who are committed to the custody of the children, youth and families department;

          C. supervise all schools and school officials coming under its jurisdiction, including taking over the control and management of a public school or school district that has failed to meet requirements of law or department rules or standards, and, until such time as requirements of law, standards or rules have been met and compliance is ensured, the powers and duties of the local school board and local superintendent shall be suspended;

          D. prescribe courses of instruction to be taught in all public schools in the state, requirements for graduation and standards for all public schools, for private schools seeking state accreditation and for the educational programs conducted in state institutions other than the New Mexico military institute and the New Mexico school for the arts;

          E. provide technical assistance to local school boards and school districts; 

          F. assess and evaluate public schools for accreditation purposes to determine the adequacy of student gain in standards-required subject matter, adequacy of student activities, functional feasibility of public school and school district organization, adequacy of staff preparation and other matters bearing upon the education of the students;

          G. assess and evaluate all state institutions and those private schools that desire state accreditation;

          H. enforce requirements for home schools. Upon finding that a home school is not in compliance with law, the department may order that a student attend a public school or a private school;

          I. require periodic reports on forms prescribed by it from all public schools and attendance reports from private schools;

          J. determine the qualifications for and issue licenses to teachers, instructional support providers and school administrators according to law and according to a system of classification adopted and promulgated by rules of the department;

          K. deny, suspend or revoke a license according to law for incompetency, moral turpitude or any other good and just cause;

          L. approve or disapprove all rules promulgated by an association or organization attempting to regulate a public school activity and invalidate any rule in conflict with any rule promulgated by the department. The department shall require an association or organization attempting to regulate a public school activity to comply with the provisions of the Open Meetings Act and be subject to the inspection provisions of the Public Records Act. The department may require performance and financial audits of an association or organization attempting to regulate a public school activity. The department shall have no power or control over the rules or the bylaws governing the administration of the internal organization of the association or organization;

          M. review decisions made by the governing board or officials of an organization or association regulating a public school activity, and any decision of the department shall be final in respect thereto;

          N. require a public school under its jurisdiction that sponsors athletic programs involving sports to mandate that the participating student obtain catastrophic health and accident insurance coverage, such coverage to be offered through the school and issued by an insurance company duly licensed pursuant to the laws of New Mexico;

          O. establish and maintain regional centers, at its discretion, for conducting cooperative services between public schools and school districts within and among those regions and for facilitating regulation and evaluation of school programs;

          P. approve education curricula and programs offered in all two-year public post-secondary educational institutions, except those in Chapter 21, Article 12 NMSA 1978, that lead to alternative licenses for degreed persons pursuant to Section 22-10A-8 NMSA 1978 or licensure for educational assistants;

           Q. withhold program approval from a college of education or teacher preparation program that fails to offer a course on teaching reading that:  

                (1) is based upon current scientifically based reading research;

                (2) aligns with department-adopted reading standards;

                (3) includes strategies and assessment measures to ensure that beginning teachers are proficient in teaching reading; and

                (4) was designed after seeking input from experts in the education field;

          R. annually, prior to December 1, prepare and publish a report on public and private education in the state and distribute the report to the governor and the legislature;

          S. solicit input from local school boards and school districts in the formulation and implementation of department rules; and

          T. report to the legislature or any of its committees as requested and report findings of any educational research study made with public money to the legislature through its appropriate interim or standing committees."

     Section 12. Section 22-10A-2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1975, Chapter 306, Section 2, as amended) is amended to read:

     "22-10A-2. DEFINITIONS.--As used in the School Personnel Act:

          A. "discharge" means the act of severing the employment relationship with a [certified] licensed school employee prior to the expiration of the current employment contract;

          B. "state agency" means any state institution or state agency providing an educational program requiring the employment of [certified school instructors] licensed school employees, except the New Mexico school for the arts;

          C. "sabbatical leave" means leave of absence with pay as set by the local school board or governing authority of a state agency during all or part of a regular school term for purposes of study or travel related to the staff member's duties and of direct benefit to the instructional program;

          D. "terminate" means, in the case of a [certified] licensed school employee, the act of not reemploying an employee for the ensuing school year and, in the case of a [non-certified] nonlicensed school employee, the act of severing the employment relationship with the employee;

          E. "working day" means every calendar day, excluding Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday; and

          F. "just cause" means a reason that is rationally related to an employee's competence or turpitude or the proper performance of [his] duties and that is not in violation of the employee's civil or constitutional rights."

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