SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico legislature has a number of bills in the works for the upcoming legislative session. Two of them are aimed at helping New Mexico schools and their need for school nurses. Senators are hoping to get a million dollars to increase the number of nurses in schools throughout the state.
They say some districts don’t have a single nurse, and in other districts, nurses are overworked. “In some of our school districts we still have one nurse for maybe eight, nine different schools and that’s not enough. Even if they went one day a week — what happens on the other days of the week,” said State Senator Liz Stefantics, District 39.
The bill would include an additional $2 million for private health group partnerships for health clinics for the Public Education Department. They say budget cuts years ago forced the closure of more than a dozen health clinics, leaving students without the services they need.
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“Students can go to talk about depression, they can go to talk about substance abuse, they can talk about contraceptives, they can talk about whatever they need to,” said Stefanics.
In the Albuquerque school district, there are 11 clinics students can access in person, or via telehealth. Lawmakers are also hoping to include legislation to allow charter schools to benefit from the bills and bring more nurses to those schools as well. The 30-day session begins on January 18.