Charter Schools Movement State Timeline
New Mexico’s charter schools . . .
While New Mexico passed one of the earliest chartering laws, Section 22-8B NMSA 1978, was a severely limiting piece of education legislation. The original charter law only allowed for conversion schools. Due to the limits of the law, only four charters would be converted by 1995.
New Mexico’s Charter School Act is passed in 1999. “... the state amended 22-8B NMSA 1978 to allow 75 new start-up and conversion schools authorized by local school districts and gave more autonomy and authority to charter schools.” Other facets of the 1999 law include: charters may be approved by the local school board or state board, charters may be created or converted from traditional school districts, charters denied by the local board can appeal to the state board for approval, and funding was limited to 98% of program cost.
Though the 1999 act allowed for the creation and conversion of charter schools, it was still a slow going process. Perhaps due to lack of funding and facility financing, only 11 charters existed for the 2000-2001 school year, 9 start-up schools and 2 of the original conversions. They served close to 1300 students.
“...the legislature passed SB 600, which amended 22-8B NMSA 1978, to establish a statewide charter school authorizer and a Charter School Division within the Public Education Department.”
New Mexico changed its charter law to prohibit the conversion of traditional schools into a charter school.
“...new legislation further amended 22-8B NMSA 1978 to create legally-binding charter school contracts between charter schools and authorizers and the accountability measures.”
An estimated 99 charter schools were open for the 2015-2015 school year, serving close to 25,000 students, or 7.53% of total public school enrollment in New Mexico.
In 2017, Mission Achievement and Success (MAS) charter school was the first charter school in New Mexico to successfully replicate its school model.
Despite the set backs of the pandemic on learning, charter school teachers still strived for the best. Including Alisa Cooper de Uribe, a charter teacher at New Mexico International School who was awarded New Mexico Teacher of the Year in 2020. Only the second charter educator to receive the award in 57 years.
Since charter schools often lack a taxing authority, Democrats in the state pushed and were successful in passing HB 43. This bill, which received bipartisan support, created the Charter School Facility Revolving Loan Fund worth approximately 10 million dollars. The law now creates a more standardized funding formula, basing funding dollars off per student calculations.
In 2023, New Mexico Is home to 98 charter schools, serving approximately 29,000 students throughout 28 community locations.
The charter cap debate, like in many states, is still ongoing as legislatures try to put a stop to charter growth. While there is a cap of sorts already in place, (only 15 schools can be chartered a year, with a max of 75 in 5 years.) The new proposed SB 422 would prevent new charters coming to a district where 10% of the student population is already in a charter.