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F I S C A L I M P A C T R E P O R T
SPONSOR Nava
ORIGINAL DATE
LAST UPDATED
01/17/08
HB
SHORT TITLE Study School Transportation Funding
SJM 12
ANALYST Escudero
APPROPRIATION (dollars in thousands)
Appropriation
Recurring
or Non-Rec
Fund
Affected
FY08
FY09
NFI
(Parenthesis ( ) Indicate Expenditure Decreases)
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
LFC Files
Responses Received From
Public Education Department (PED)
SUMMARY
Synopsis of Bill
This Joint Memorial requesting The Public Education Department to study how school
transportation funding for salaries and benefits is being spent.
Each year, the legislature appropriates money to the public education department to fund
to- and from-school bus transportation in public school districts statewide.
Current law allows school districts to provide school bus transportation to students
through the use of school bus service contracts, either with individual owner-operators or
private school bus contractors or both.
By public education department rule, a person who owns only one bus and who drives the
bus on a full-time basis is, as a driver, considered an employee of the school district,
while a person who owns more than one bus is considered a self-employed private school
bus contractor who hires the contractor's own employees.
Since 1994, the money distributed through school bus service contracts by the public
education department to private school bus contractors has included a thirty-five percent
reimbursement rate for employee benefits paid by a private school bus contractor to
employees.
Private school bus contractors may provide up to thirty-five percent employee benefits
for their employees.
pg_0002
Senate Joint Memorial 12 Page
2
The public education department reports that fewer than ten percent of the current private
school bus contractors provide any form of employee benefits for their employees.
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Legislature of the State of New Mexico that the
Public Education Department, the Legislative Education Study Committee and the
Legislative Finance Committee, in collaboration with public school district administrators
and representatives of private school bus contractors, be requested to examine the
funding of school transportation contracts to ensure that the employees of private school
bus contractors have full access to the wages and benefits available to the contractor.
Be it further resolved that the public education department report its findings and
recommendations to the Legislative Education Study committee by October 1, 2008.
Be it further resolved that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the Secretary of
Public Education and the Directors of the Legislative Education Study Committee and the
Legislative Finance Committee for appropriate distribution.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS
According to PED, no fiscal impact. The PED can absorb the cost of this study with existing
staff.
SIGNIFICANT ISSUES
SJM 12 would require the PED, LESC, LFC, public school district administrators, and
representatives of private school bus contractors to work in consortium to conduct the
requested study.
Current national and state trends for school bus driver recruitment and retention illustrate
that school bus driver shortages are becoming more prevalent. School operations rely on
school transportation operations being able to provide timely and consistent services.
While many school districts have driver shortages, this directly impacts the level of
services necessary to ensure that students receive full instructional time as required.
New Mexico has qualified 15% more (new) drivers in calendar year 2007 and continues
to have school bus driver shortages.
Public school districts who employ school bus drivers may qualify for employee benefits
provided that they meet the minimum hour requirement for educational retirement and/or
health coverage. School bus drivers employed by private school bus operators have
limited benefits.
PME/bb