HOUSE BILL 321
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2020
Debra M. Sariñana and Elizabeth "Liz" Thomson and
Joanne J. Ferrary and Joy Garratt and Christine Chandler
RELATING TO PUBLIC EDUCATION; REQUIRING THAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS EMPLOY A MINIMUM OF ONE NURSE AND ONE SOCIAL WORKER; PROVIDING IMPLEMENTATION; PROVIDING EXCEPTIONS; 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] NURSE AND SOCIAL WORKER IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS--IMPLEMENTATION--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 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 public school, starting with high-poverty public schools, shall employ at least one nurse and at least one social worker for each school year. The provisions of this subsection shall be phased in over a four-year period, with a priority placed on high-poverty public schools, as follows:
(1) for the 2020-2021 school year, one-third of New Mexico's high-poverty public schools shall employ at least one nurse and at least one social worker;
(2) for the 2021-2022 school year, two-thirds of New Mexico's high-poverty public schools shall employ at least one nurse and at least one social worker;
(3) for the 2022-2023 school year, all of New Mexico's high-poverty public schools shall employ at least one nurse and at least one social worker; and
(4) for the 2023-2024 school year and each subsequent school year, every public school shall employ at least one nurse and at least one social worker.
C. The department may provide exceptions to the requirements of this section for:
(1) school districts with a MEM of two hundred or less that work with an existing regional education cooperative, authorized by the secretary pursuant to the Regional Cooperative Education Act; or
(2) school districts unable to hire qualified nurses and social workers.
D. The department shall annually verify compliance with the provisions of this section."
SECTION 2. APPROPRIATION.--Five million dollars ($5,000,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the public education department for expenditure in fiscal year 2021 for the purpose of implementing the requirement that public schools shall employ at least one social worker and at least one nurse. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2021 shall revert to the general fund.
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