NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Public Education Department reports that it has allocated $15 million in aid to 108 schools in the state based on a new Family Income Index that was designed to fight poverty in schools. According to a press release from the department, this is the first round of funding in a two-year pilot project that was approved by the Legislature to direct additional aid to schools that serve the most economically disadvantaged students.
In Fiscal Year 2023, an additional $15 million will be distributed to qualifying schools. The department states that the awards ranged from the legislative minimum of $20,000 received by 13 schools with enrollments of fewer than 50 students to $434,174 to Santa Fe’s El Camino Real Community School that has 840 students.
The funding was reportedly distributed across 69 of the state’s districts and 10 of its 98 state-chartered schools. In total, 42% of New Mexico local educational agencies qualified for funding according to rules established in the legislative pilot program.
Funding from the program must be used for reading and math interventions, hiring school counselors and social workers, creating family information and resource centers, embracing diverse classroom texts, providing professional learning opportunities for educators, and after-school enrichment programs.
The program was started through the use of income and Census data to identify the household income of every state public school student. The PED then determined each school’s Family Income Index which is the percentage of students in families with extremely low or very low incomes.
The department states that a family of four that earns less than about $34,000 a year would fall into one of those categories. PED identified the half of all state schools with the highest Income Index to allocate the $15 million.
Any district with at least one school on that list will receive funding for that school. Districts with multilple schools will receive funding for up to 10% of all district schools. No qualifying school will receive less than $20,000.
Schools can start spending the award after July 1 and will then seek reimbursement from the PED.