By Grant McGee
The Staff of The News 

Governor directs cut in school paperwork


Last updated 5/28/2022 at 11:20am

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Monday signed an executive order directing the New Mexico Public Education Department to reduce what she termed “burdensome” reporting requirements by 25%, enabling school administrators to spend more time educating students and less time on paperwork. 

 In a news release issued by the governor’s office, Lujan Grisham said, “Our kids should be the focus of everything we do at New Mexico schools, and teachers and administrators did not choose these professions to spend their days filling out paperwork.”

“While we need robust data reporting and collection to track our students’ progress, we have a responsibility to streamline those requirements and ensure they are not overly burdensome,” the governor said. 

The executive order directs the Public Education Department to review administrative reporting requirements in school districts. It also directs by the beginning of the school year in August the PED must streamline those requirements in a way that cuts the amount of time spent by teachers and administrators to meet them by 25%.

State Public Education secretary Kurt Steinhaus said, “In addition to reducing paperwork, we’ll be improving efficiencies and the quality of information so school leaders can make better decisions, like how to improve math instruction or how to better help kids learn to read.” 

Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Renee Russ responded to Lujan Grisham’s action via email.

“A legitimate reduction in reporting and paperwork would allow New Mexico school districts to provide more resources to directly support classroom instruction,” Russ wrote. “It is a fantastic idea in theory, but will be an enormous undertaking by the New Mexico Public Education Department to fully understand all that is currently required of school districts by each of the divisions within their department.”

“In order to avoid ending up right back where we started,” Russ continued, “It will also require careful monitoring of language in future education-related legislation and in accountability measures imposed on school districts in the future.”

Russ went on to write, “I am cautiously optimistic with regard to the Governor’s recent executive order, but I believe the real focus right now should be on providing funding to assist New Mexico school districts in bringing the latest technology and other resources to provide safe and secure learning environments and to battle the challenges that have been presented to public education with the legalization of recreational marijuana and the prevalence of vaping among youth in our state.”

“We have identified a number of innovative safety measures such as weapons detection and vape-detection technology that we are ready to implement immediately, but we are struggling with identifying funding sources that will allow for these expenditures,” Russ wrote.

“Every student and every educator should feel more safe at school than any other place. We need our state leaders to make funding for safety and security their number one priority in New Mexico right now,” Russ wrote.

“It’s something that’s welcome,” Portales School Superintendent Johnnie Cain said of the governor’s executive order. “A lot of this stuff they already have. There’ll be a form that we’ll have to fill out and we have to go to their database to obtain the information. Basically we’re duplicating what they already know. So this is appreciated.”


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