NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – There are about a dozen pieces of legislation on the governor’s desk dealing with New Mexico’s education system. Many lawmakers are hoping these bills will change our state’s stature in education.

From extending learning time to replacing the state’s Public Education Department (PED), ideas on how to improve New Mexico’s education system have been widespread.

“Education is a priority for me because really it’s a foundational issue. So, we can talk about crime, we can talk about economic development, all of these things that our state is facing. But if we don’t fix education, they’re all just band-aids,” says Representative Ryan Lane (R-Aztec), House Republican Leader.

Lane is one of many legislators with an education-related bill on the governor’s desk. House Bill 342 expands how adults can use their 529 Savings Plan – allowing them to use it on student loans and apprenticeships.

Other bills on the governor’s desk include increasing educational assistant salaries; the K-12 plus program, which increases how many hours kids stay in school; and a bill that requires schools to offer free breakfast and lunch to every student.

Representative G. Andres Romero (D-Albuquerque) is a co-sponsor of the extended learning time bill and has another one working its way to the finish line, co-sponsored with Representative Lane.

“Another one is House Bill 126 which is on the Senate Floor right now: it’s the high school graduation bill. So totally revamping the way we work in high school and the credits students would take. And really the objective there is getting students more invested and having students lead their education,” Romero says.

The push to abolish the state’s PED is on its last stop: Senate Joint Resolution 1 just needs to be heard on the House Floor. If it passes, it’ll be up to voters to decide. The resolution would replace the PED and its secretary with a State Board of Education and a superintendent.