The governor of New Mexico signed four bills into law that would improve education funding, including significant raises in teacher wages.
Following the approval of the laws by the Legislature last month, Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham hosted the ceremony outside at an elementary school in Santa Fe on Tuesday.
She signed a law that would enhance teacher and counselor wage minimums by $10,000, surrounded by kids and the national leader of the teacher’s union.
“We have to pay our educators a salary that is commensurate with their incredible … experience, education and the fact that they are working more than full time supporting their students,” Lujan Grisham said.
Teachers currently earn at least $40,000 when they first start out, $50,000 after gaining more experience and training, and $60,000 after passing an extensive master teacher certification.
With a 22 percent rise, beginning teachers and counselors on a minimal salary would gain the most.
Last month, there was no resistance to the teacher increase bill in the Legislature, and Lujan Grisham thanked at least one Republican senator in a long list of thank-yous.
Many school employees, including nurses, janitors, and others who currently make more than the minimum wage, will be unaffected by the move. Lujan Grisham, on the other hand, is anticipated to sign a law that, after subtracting increases in minimum wages, would assure that all school employees earn at least 7% more than they do currently.
Lujan Grisham, who is seeking reelection this year, is also expected to pass a $15 minimum wage for state and school employees.
Lujan Grisham also signed laws at the primary school intended at promoting teacher training and attracting retirees back into the classroom.
For prospective teachers teaching in classrooms during their last year of school, a teacher training program will enhance the remuneration to $35,000 per year. It also provides a stipend to teachers and principals who serve as mentors to them.
A third law she signed increases a teacher pension fund by $100 million over three years. A fourth measure makes it simpler for retired teachers to return to the classroom by decreasing the cooling-off period from one year to three months, about the duration of a summer vacation.
Rep. Debra Sariana, D-Albuquerque, a recently retired teacher, was present during the bill signing. She claims that her old high school has asked her to return, and she is debating whether or not to do so in order to spend more time with her grandkids.