LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The Las Cruces public school district is looking for community members who want to serve on its new equity council.
The creation of the panel is part of a mandate issued by the New Mexico Public Education Department as it works to address insufficient opportunities at public schools around the state.
A state judge in 2018 ruled that lawmakers and state education officials were failing their constitutional obligations to ensure an adequate education for vulnerable children from minority communities, non-English speaking households, impoverished families and students with disabilities.
As part of its strategy to address issues raised by the initial lawsuit, the Public Education Department is requiring each school district to establish an equity council made up of community members, school personnel, students and parents.
Las Cruces officials expect the council for that district to do an assessment and make recommendations for programs, policies and funding to serve the students identified in the lawsuit.
The Las Cruces district will be accepting applications for its council through Dec. 12.
Since the ruling, the Democrat-led Legislature and first-year Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have authorized a nearly half-billion dollar increase in annual spending on public education. They raised teacher salaries, channeled money toward at-risk students and extended academic calendars.
Still, two groups of plaintiffs revived the litigation in October when they filed motions seeking to ensure the state complies with the judge's order.