SANTA FE, N.M. — The Latest on a New Mexico trial seeking greater funding for public schools across the state (all times local):
12: 20 p.m.
Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Veronica Garcia is testifying in a trial about the adequacy of public school funding and educational opportunities in the state of New Mexico.
Garcia testified Monday that she is shocked that so many students are not proficient in math and reading when they graduate from high school in New Mexico.
The former state secretary of education says about 10 percent of students statewide are proficient in math upon graduation. She says that drives up the cost and time needed for a college education, and affects career opportunities and civic engagement.
Garcia says recent state reductions in school funding are making it more difficult for schools to attend to low-income students who may have a native language other than English. She says the overall level of state funding for education is the overriding problem.
Attorneys for public school districts and parents of students are giving opening statements in a trial about the adequacy of funding in New Mexico.
A trial opened Monday in district court that could change the way public school districts are funded by a state with the second highest level of poverty in the nation.
Marisa Bono of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund says the state of New Mexico is illegally neglecting to provide educational opportunities for many impoverished students, along with Native American students and those studying English as a second language.
Defense attorney Jeff Wechsler says the state public education system is vigorous and spending more won’t necessarily improve student performance.
The trial could affect how much money the state devotes to public schools and which students are afforded more resources.
A trial is set to begin Monday that could upend the way New Mexico’s public schools are funded.
Parents, school districts and advocacy groups allege that the state’s education system isn’t meeting its responsibilities for Native American students, low-income students and those learning English as a second language.
The trial in Santa Fe could last two months with testimony from top state officials, national education experts and aggrieved parents.
Education officials under Republican Gov. Susana Martinez say spending is adequate and that new programs help struggling students while holding teachers and school leaders accountable.
Courts in several states are being called upon to shore up funding for public schools.