SENATE BILL 31
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2019
RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS; REQUIRING A SOCIAL WORKER IN EVERY HIGH-POVERTY PUBLIC SCHOOL; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] SOCIAL WORKER IN EVERY HIGH-POVERTY PUBLIC SCHOOL--DEFINITION--IMPLEMENTATION--RULES--EXCEPTION.--
A. As used in this section:
(1) "high-poverty public school" means a public school in which eighty-five percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-fee meals; and
(2) "MEM" means the average full-time school district or charter school membership, including early childhood education full-time-equivalent membership and special education membership, as calculated on the second and third reporting dates of the prior school year pursuant to Section 22-8-13 NMSA 1978.
B. Except as provided in Subsection C of this section and as provided during the phase-in period provided in this subsection, every high-poverty public school shall employ a licensed social worker for each school year. The department shall issue rules to annually verify compliance with the provisions of this section. The provisions of this subsection shall be phased in over a three-year period as determined by department rule as follows:
(1) for the 2019-2020 school year, one-third of New Mexico's high-poverty public schools shall employ a social worker;
(2) for the 2020-2021 school year, two-thirds of New Mexico's high-poverty public schools shall employ a social worker; and
(3) for the 2021-2022 school year and each subsequent school year, every New Mexico high-poverty public school shall employ a social worker.
C. The department may develop exceptions to the requirements of this section for school districts with a MEM of 200 or less that work with an existing regional education cooperative authorized by the secretary pursuant to the Regional Cooperative Education Act."
SECTION 2. APPROPRIATION.--Three million dollars ($3,000,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the public education department for expenditure in fiscal year 2020 for the purpose of implementing the requirement that every high-poverty public school shall employ a licensed social worker. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2020 shall revert to the general fund.
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