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Morning Word: Martinez Vetoes Education Funding Cuts

October 25, 2016, 7:30 am
Education Funding Cuts Vetoed
Most state government agencies officially have to slash their budgets 5 percent. On Monday, Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation requiring the cutbacks, but vetoed $22 million in K-12 education cuts.

Court Date Set For Teacher Evaluation Challenge
Teachers are headed to court, but not for another year, to challenge the Public Education Department’s controversial evaluation system.
The unions argue that the system, which heavily relies on student test scores to measure a teacher’s worth, violates the state’s School Personnel Act. The Public Education Department changed some aspects of the teacher evaluation plan without legislative approval. As a result, the state can use the evaluation system to fire teachers, the unions said. Lawyers for both sides agreed to the yearlong hiatus so they can include any new data or regulations that the Public Education Department may release.
Supreme Court Reconsiders Closed Primary System Rules
In New Mexico, only Democrats and Republicans are currently allowed to cast primary election ballots. But on Monday, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral arguments from critics of the closed system who claim the rule disenfranchises independent and small party voters. Supporters of the current process say “it ensures distinct ideological choices in general elections.”

School District Accused of Violating Open Records Law
The Albuquerque Public School District is violating state open records law, according to the New Mexico attorney general’s office. Even so, the mother of a student who was tased by school district police officers could still have to go to court to get incident records the district claims are covered by law enforcement and personal opinion exemptions.

Gila River Diversion Plans: A Costly Controversy
Laura Paskus has put together an excellent news package on problems with the plans to divert Gila River water.
Plans for the current diversion have been controversial, in part because there’s a gap between the tens of millions of dollars in federal money the state anticipates receiving and the cost of infrastructure that could capture and store even a portion of the water rights New Mexico wants to use.

Also, environmentalists say a diversion will harm the river, which flows out of the Gila Wilderness. Biologists fear its impact on the rare fish that rely on the river. And open government advocates have pointed to a lack of transparency in the state’s decision-making process.
World Series: Front and Center
This is great. Albuquerque Journal reporter Bob Christ found a New Mexico man who will be watching the World Series very closely.
Rio Rancho’s Allen Broyles, 82, will be front and center in his living room tonight when he watches the Cleveland Indians play host to the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the 112th World Series.

But no matter how close he puts his nose to the TV screen, he won’t have as good a seat as he had the last time the Indians won the championship, when he served as a batboy for the 1948 squad that featured Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau, Bob Lemon, Joe Gordon and Ken Keltner.


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