New Mexico Bill SB0137 Would Mandate School Board Training and Campaign Finance Transparency


School board members around New Mexico have a large responsibility and oversight of large budgets and new school board members take time to acclimate to the new role and to learn the legal nuances of the position. In New Mexico there is no standardized training for school board members. A bill headed for a final floor vote in the Legislature aims to change that.

Senate Bill 137 would require school board members to attend 10 hours of training during their first year serving on the board, followed by 5 hours of additional training annually for the rest of their term.

School boards with a large turnover of new members such as recent events with the Alamogordo Public Schools Board put the districts and state at risk without proper standardized training.

Trainings would cover areas such finance and budgeting, creating strategy for student achievement, and practices for supporting their local superintendent. Board members are supposed attend annual training now, but according to a bill analysis PED doesn’t track compliance with that rule. 

Senate Bill 137 (SB137) would amend statutory training requirements for school board members and charter school governing body members to add statutory minimum training requirements for all board members and would increase transparency of board operations by providing that:
• the Public Education Department (PED) collect and post information about the hours of training board members have completed on their website;
• board meetings be webcast and posted on each school district and charter school’s website; and
• a local school board may not terminate a superintendent without cause within sixty
days after the first convening of a newly elected board.

SB137 would also amend school district campaign reporting requirements to narrow the
definition of a school board “candidate” from someone who received or spent $500 or more on a campaign to someone who has received or spent $1,000 or more on a campaign, and
to extend the definition of “covered office” to include all school board members, rather than members of school districts of 12,000 students or more.

SB137 is endorsed by the Legislative Education Study Committee. This bill would go into effect on July 1, 2024

The bill also requires all school board candidates to report campaign contributions and spending in excess of $1,000. According to Think New Mexico, which has been pushing for the bill, the state is one of only six that does not require all school board candidates to disclose their campaign contributions.

SB 137 passed the Senate and the House Education Committee and is now headed to the House floor for a final vote.

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