HOUSE BILL 413
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Christine Trujillo and Yanira Gurrola and Cynthia Borrego and Pamelya Herndon and Natalie Figueroa
RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS; AMENDING CLASS LOAD SIZES; PROVIDING EXCEPTIONS; REQUIRING THE PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT TO CREATE AND MAINTAIN AN ONLINE PORTAL TO RECEIVE CONFIDENTIAL REPORTS OF CLASS LOAD SIZE VIOLATIONS; PROVIDING CLASS LOAD SIZE WAIVERS; PROVIDING RULEMAKING AUTHORITY TO THE PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT; REQUIRING SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO PROVIDE NOTICE OF CLASS LOAD SIZE WAIVERS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 22-10A-20 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1986, Chapter 33, Section 3, as amended) is amended to read:
"22-10A-20. STAFFING PATTERNS--CLASS LOAD--TEACHING LOAD.--
[A. The individual class load for elementary school teachers shall not exceed twenty students for kindergarten; provided that any teacher in kindergarten with a class load of fifteen to twenty students shall be entitled to the assistance of an educational assistant.
B.] A. The [average] maximum class load for elementary school teachers [at an individual school] shall not exceed [twenty-two students when averaged among grades one, two and three; provided that any teacher in grade one with a class load of twenty-one or more shall be entitled to the full-time assistance of an educational assistant.
C. The average class load for an elementary school teacher at an individual school shall not exceed twenty-four students when averaged among grades four, five and six.] the following; provided that any elementary school teacher with a class load of fifteen or more students shall be entitled to the full-time assistance of an educational assistant:
(1) twenty students in a kindergarten or first grade class, or eighteen students in a kindergarten or first grade class in a high-poverty school;
(2) twenty-two students in a second or third grade class, or twenty students in a second or third grade class in a high-poverty school; and
(3) twenty-four students in a fourth, fifth or sixth grade class, or twenty-two students in a fourth, fifth or sixth grade class in a high-poverty school.
[D.] B. The [daily] nine-week teaching load per teacher for grades seven through twelve shall not exceed one hundred [sixty] fifty students, [except the daily] or one hundred twenty-five students in a high-poverty school. The nine-week teaching load for teachers of required English courses in grades seven and eight shall not exceed one hundred [thirty-five] twenty-five, with a maximum of [twenty-seven] twenty-five students per class, [and the daily teaching load for teachers of required English courses in grades nine through twelve shall not exceed one hundred fifty students with a maximum of thirty students per class] or one hundred ten students in a high-poverty school.
[E.] C. Students receiving special education services integrated into a regular classroom for any part of the day shall be counted in the calculation of class [load averages] loads. Students receiving special education services not integrated into the regular classroom shall not be counted in the calculation of class [load averages] loads. Students enrolled in courses that do not require the teacher to plan, grade or complete other tasks outside of the course meeting time and that meet for less than the equivalent of one class period per week, including advisory, homeroom and study hall, shall not be counted in the calculation of class loads. Only classroom teachers charged with responsibility for the regular classroom instructional program shall be counted in determining [average] class loads. [In elementary schools offering only one grade level, average class loads may be calculated by averaging appropriate grade levels between schools in the school district.
F.] D. Class load limits provided for in this section do not apply to band or music classes or athletic electives.
[G. The state superintendent may waive the individual school class load requirements established in this section. Waivers shall be applied for annually and a waiver shall not be granted for more than two consecutive years. Waivers may only be granted if a school district demonstrates that:
(1) no portable classrooms are available;
(2) no other available sources of funding exist to meet its need for additional classrooms;
(3) the school district is planning alternatives to increase building capacity for implementation within one year; and
(4) the parents of all children affected by the waiver have been notified in writing:
(a) of the statutory class load requirements;
(b) that the school district has made a decision to deviate from these class load requirements; and
(c) of the school district plan to achieve compliance with the class load requirements.
H. If a waiver is granted pursuant to Subsection G of this section to an individual school, the average class load for elementary school teachers at that school shall not exceed twenty students in grade one and shall not exceed twenty-five students when averaged among grades two, three, four, five and six.]
E. The department shall create and maintain an online portal to allow teachers and parents of students to submit confidential reports to the department regarding violations of class load limits. Teachers may not be penalized for submitting a report of a violation.
F. If exceptional circumstances arise, a school may request a one-time waiver of the class load limits. A school district shall apply to the department for approval and explain with specificity the exceptional circumstances creating a need for the waiver and the school district's plan for coming into compliance with the class load limits. A school may not receive a waiver for more than one class in any year. If such a waiver is approved, the maximum class load shall not exceed twenty-two students for kindergarten and first grade, twenty-four students for second and third grades, twenty-six students for fourth through six grades and for seventh through twelfth grades, one hundred sixty students, except for teachers of required English courses in seventh and eighth grades, whose class loads shall not exceed one hundred thirty-five students, with a maximum of twenty-seven students per class.
G. A teacher who is asked to increase the teacher's class load over the maximum permitted shall be provided with additional support or compensation. The department may promulgate rules to implement the requirements of this subsection.
H. If a waiver is approved, the school district shall notify the parents of all students affected by the waiver in writing:
(1) of the statutory class load requirements;
(2) that the school district has made a decision to deviate from these class load requirements; and
(3) of the school district's plan to achieve compliance with the class load requirements.
I. Each school district shall report to the department the size and composition of classes subsequent to the fortieth day and the December 1 count. Failure to meet class load requirements [within two years shall be justification for] shall result in the disapproval of the school district's budget by the [state superintendent] department.
J. The department shall report to the legislative education study committee by November 30 of each year regarding each school district's ability to meet class load requirements imposed by law.
[K. Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection G of this section, the state board may waive the individual class load and teaching load requirements established in this section upon a demonstration of a viable alternative curricular plan and a finding by the state board that the plan is in the best interest of the school district and that, on an annual basis, the plan has been presented to and is supported by the affected teaching staff. The department shall evaluate the impact of each alternative curricular plan annually. Annual reports shall be made to the legislative education study committee.
L.] K. Teachers shall not be required to perform noninstructional duties except in emergency situations as defined by the [state board] department. For purposes of this subsection, "noninstructional duties" means noon hall duty, noon ground duty and noon cafeteria duty.
L. As used in this section, "high-poverty school" means a school in which seventy-five percent or more of the students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch."
SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2023.
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