3 New Mexico school districts sue state for diverting federal funds

Education

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Three New Mexico school districts are suing the state, alleging its diverting funding away from at-risk students. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Gallup-McKinley County Schools, Grants-Cibola County Schools, and the Zia Public School District filed a complaint that accuses education officials of submitting inaccurate information to the U.S. Department of Education that divert tens of millions of dollars from needy schools and programs that serve at-risk students.

The districts are seeking an order for the PED to make sure they get their federal Impact Aid funds. Impact Aid provides funding nationwide for school districts to offset property tax losses from tax-exempt federal property within their boundaries.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that unlike many states, New Mexico doesn’t fund schools through property taxes and redistributes much of that aid by taking federal aid credits against districts that receive it which leads to a reduction in state funding for those schools. In 2019, over $63 million of that aid was redistributed.

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