HOUSE BILL 448
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Christine Trujillo and Yanira Gurrola and Pamelya Herndon
and D. Wonda Johnson and Debra M. Sariñana
RELATING TO PUBLIC EDUCATION; ENACTING THE DROPOUT RECOVERY ACT; AMENDING THE DEFINITION OF "QUALIFIED STUDENT" TO INCLUDE DROPOUT STUDENTS; PROVIDING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A DROPOUT RECOVERY SCHOOL; REQUIRING THE PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT TO ANNUALLY MAINTAIN A LIST OF STUDENTS WHO ARE IDENTIFIED AS DROPOUTS; PROVIDING RULEMAKING AUTHORITY; REQUIRING DROPOUT RECOVERY SCHOOLS TO ANNUALLY REPORT ENROLLMENT TOTALS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 22-8-2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1978, Chapter 128, Section 3, as amended by Laws 2019, Chapter 206, Section 6 and by Laws 2019, Chapter 207, Section 6) is amended to read:
"22-8-2. DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Public School Finance Act:
A. "ADM" or "MEM" means membership;
B. "membership" means the total enrollment of qualified students on the current roll of a class or school on a specified day. The current roll is established by the addition of original entries and reentries minus withdrawals. Withdrawals of students, in addition to students formally withdrawn from the public school, include students absent from the public school for as many as ten consecutive school days; provided that withdrawals do not include students in need of early intervention and habitual truants the school district is required to intervene with and keep in an educational setting as provided in [Section 22-12-9 NMSA 1978] the Attendance for Success Act;
C. "basic program ADM" or "basic program MEM" means the MEM of qualified students but excludes the full-time-equivalent MEM in early childhood education and three- and four-year-old students receiving special education services;
D. "cost differential factor" is the numerical expression of the ratio of the cost of a particular segment of the school program to the cost of the basic program in grades four through six;
E. "department" or "division" means the public education department;
F. "early childhood education ADM" or "early childhood education MEM" means the full-time-equivalent MEM of students attending approved early childhood education programs;
G. "full-time-equivalent ADM" or "full-time- equivalent MEM" is that membership calculated by applying to the MEM in an approved public school program the ratio of the number of hours per school day devoted to the program to six hours or the number of hours per school week devoted to the program to thirty hours;
H. "operating budget" means the annual financial plan and educational plan required to be submitted by a local school board or governing body of a state-chartered charter school;
I. "performance measure" means a quantitative indicator used to assess the output or outcome of an approved program;
J. "performance target" means the expected level of performance of a program's performance measure;
K. "program cost" is the product of the total number of program units to which a school district is entitled multiplied by the dollar value per program unit established by the legislature;
L. "program element" is that component of a public school system to which a cost differential factor is applied to determine the number of program units to which a school district is entitled, including MEM, full-time-equivalent MEM, teacher, classroom or public school;
M. "program unit" is the product of the program element multiplied by the applicable cost differential factor;
N. "public money" or "public funds" means all money from public or private sources received by a school district or state-chartered charter school or officer or employee of a school district or state-chartered charter school for public use;
O. "qualified student" means a public school student who:
(1) has not graduated from high school;
(2) is regularly enrolled in one-half or more of the minimum course requirements approved by the department for public school students; and
(3) in terms of age and other criteria:
(a) is at least five years of age prior to 12:01 a.m. on September 1 of the school year;
(b) is at least three years of age at any time during the school year and is receiving special education services pursuant to rules of the department;
(c) [except as provided in Subparagraph (d) of this paragraph] has not reached the student's
twenty-second birthday on the first day of the school year; or
(d) has reached the student's twenty-second birthday [on] by the first day of the [2019-2020] school year, is counted in a school district's or charter school's MEM [on the third reporting date of the 2018-2019 school year] in the prior school year, has been continuously enrolled in [the same] a public school [since that reporting date] designated as a dropout recovery school and is still enrolled in that school;
P. "rural population rate" means that proportion of the total population within a school district's geographic boundaries that lives in a rural area and not in an urban area as defined by the United States census bureau;
Q. "staffing cost multiplier" means:
(1) for fiscal year 2019, the instructional staff training and experience index;
(2) for fiscal year 2020, the weighted average of the instructional staff training and experience index at seventy-five percent and the teacher cost index at twenty-five percent;
(3) for fiscal year 2021, the weighted average of the instructional staff training and experience index at fifty percent and the teacher cost index at fifty percent;
(4) for fiscal year 2022, the weighted average of the instructional staff training and experience index at twenty-five percent and the teacher cost index at seventy-five percent; and
(5) for fiscal year 2023 and subsequent fiscal years, the teacher cost index; and
R. "state superintendent" means the secretary of public education or the secretary's designee."
SECTION 2. A new section of the Public School Finance Act is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DROPOUT RECOVERY SCHOOLS--FUNDING STRUCTURE FOR DROPOUT STUDENTS.--
A. The department shall promulgate a rule to determine a funding structure in which state equalization guarantee funds are provided to the dropout recovery school either:
(1) on a per student basis in the same year in which the qualified student enrolled;
(2) based on a per credit completed rate in the same year in which the qualified student enrolled; provided that no dropout recovery school shall receive more funding per student than the average annual cost per student and that credit completion shall be reported in a manner approved by the department; or
(3) through traditional funding distributions based on the prior year's membership counts.
B. As used in this section, "dropout recovery school" means a public school or a program within a public school that has received a designation by the department as a dropout recovery school pursuant to the Dropout Recovery Act."
SECTION 3. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--Sections 3 through 7 of this act may be cited as the "Dropout Recovery Act"."
SECTION 4. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Dropout Recovery Act:
A. "dropout" means a student who has abandoned the student's course of study and has not received a New Mexico diploma of excellence or high school equivalency credential;
B. "dropout recovery school" means a public school or a program within a public school that has received a designation by the department as a dropout recovery school pursuant to the Dropout Recovery Act; and
C. "school district" includes charter schools."
SECTION 5. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DROPOUT RECOVERY SCHOOL--ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.--
A. The department may designate a public school as a dropout recovery school if the public school meets all of the following criteria:
(1) has met the criteria of a dropout recovery school as provided by rules promulgated by the department;
(2) provides educational services exclusively to qualified students who have officially been designated as meeting the definition of dropout; and
(3) meets program performance standards established by the department.
B. A dropout recovery school may provide educational services to a dropout who meets any one or more of the following criteria:
(1) is an otherwise qualified student as defined in Section 22-8-2 NMSA 1978 who has:
(a) voluntarily removed the student's self from the school system before graduation due to hardship, court action, expulsion, medical reasons, pregnancy or marriage;
(b) withdrawn from school because the student has failed to meet competency requirements and thereby has not received a New Mexico diploma of excellence;
(c) been identified as chronically absent and failing to reengage in school after interventions pursuant to the Attendance for Success Act;
(d) been expected to attend a school but did not enter as expected for unknown reasons or the student's whereabouts are unaccounted for; or
(e) withdrawn from school but has not transferred to another public or private school or enrolled in any career, adult or home education or alternative educational program; or
(2) based on the ratio of credits earned and student age, the student is not expected to graduate from high school before reaching the student's four-year cohort graduation date."
SECTION 6. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] ANNUAL DROPOUT REPORTS--CONTENTS.--
A. No later than August 1 of each year, the department shall develop a report that identifies all students in the state who meet the definition of a dropout.
B. The report shall include:
(1) student identifying information, including name, age, last known address, phone number, email address and any other contact information available;
(2) the last school of attendance for the dropout and the grade the dropout was enrolled in when the dropout left school; and
(3) any other information available to the department that may assist dropout recovery efforts to locate other potential dropouts.
C. The department shall transmit the report no later than August 15 of each year to all schools that have been designated as a dropout recovery school pursuant to the Dropout Recovery Act."
SECTION 7. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DROPOUT RECOVERY SCHOOL DESIGNATIONS--RULEMAKING AUTHORITY--DEPARTMENT ASSISTANCE TO DROPOUT RECOVERY SCHOOLS--ANNUAL ENROLLMENT REPORTS.--
A. No later than October 1, 2023, the department shall promulgate rules that allow school districts to apply for and receive designations for individual public schools to be designated as a dropout recovery school.
B. The rules shall include provisions that:
(1) permit dropout recovery schools to enroll qualified students year-round;
(2) allow dropout recovery schools to recruit and enroll students from outside its geographical boundaries pursuant to Section 22-1-4 NMSA 1978;
(3) choose a funding structure in which state equalization guarantee funds are provided to the dropout recovery school as provided in Section 2 of this 2023 act;
(4) permit dropout recovery schools to report student performance and graduation rates in an alternative format than those outlined in the School Support and Accountability Act; provided that school accountability reports shall still capture the school's progress at ensuring adequate student academic progress and students receiving a New Mexico diploma of excellence;
(5) require that students graduating from a dropout recovery school only receive a New Mexico diploma of excellence if they have met all credit requirements outlined in Section 22-13-1.1 NMSA 1978, but allow students enrolled in a dropout recovery school to immediately show competency through the alternative demonstration of competency;
(6) allow a dropout recovery school to contract with nationally accredited organizations for academic programming;
(7) require appropriate student support services for student success and allow a dropout recovery school to contract with support service providers for those student supports;
(8) require that dropout recovery schools provide all appropriate special education services for students with disabilities pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
(9) establish criteria for students to exit a dropout recovery school and re-enter the school district of residence; and
(10) permit dropout recovery schools to be offered in face-to-face, hybrid and online modalities.
C. The department shall provide technical assistance to designated dropout recovery schools and school districts that may apply for dropout recovery school designations.
D. No later than October 1 of each year, dropout recovery schools shall report to the department estimated enrollment for the following school year."
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