New Mexico budget bill includes pay raise for teachers

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico teachers could be getting a big raise if the state legislature can agree on the budget that includes it.

Everyone in the state legislature thinks it’s the right time to give teachers a pay bump.

“We have not really raised teacher salaries in 10 years. We are losing teachers to surrounding states. They can move to surrounding states and make $10,000 to $15,000 more immediately,” Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque) said.

Majority Whip Mimi Stewart, a retired teacher, is leading the charge in the Senate, with Rep. Alonzo Baldonado in the House.

The increase would mean Level 1 teachers would make in the high $30,000 range instead of the low $30,000 range. Level 2 salaries would increase to mid $40,000 and Level 3 to mid $50,000.

Rep. Baldonado from Los Lunas says his bill on the House side also contains $5 million for the Public Education Department to use to recruit teachers.

“We ask a lot of our teachers and so clearly it’s an important thing to pay them what we need to be able to pay them,” Rep. Baldonado said.

The actual dollar increase has been written into the budget bill, which is House Bill 2.

The budget bill hasn’t gone up to the governor yet. It’s being hashed out in the Senate Finance Committee.

Another bill is also looking to increase the salaries of school cafeteria staff and bus drivers to $16 an hour.

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