Senate panel approves amended measure for teacher raises

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SANTA FE (AP) – New Mexico teachers at various levels would see minimum salaries increase under an amended proposal approved by the Senate Education Committee.

The panel voted Wednesday to advance the measure despite concerns that legislative finance leaders may not be able to find money to pay for the salary hikes due to evaporating revenues.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque, says the initial proposal had called for phasing in base-pay increases over four years at an estimated cost of more than $155 million.

Stewart is now proposing the bill cover just one year at a cost of nearly $7 million.

She says New Mexico needs to include the salary minimums in state law as part of an effort to boost recruitment and retention. Some lawmakers voiced concerns about it being an unfunded mandate.

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