SB182, bill to sell off public lands dies in committee! Send a quick thank you to Sen. Papen for pulling her bill

Earlier this week we asked you to reach out to Sen. Mary Kay Papen and ask her to pull her bill SB 182 which would have laid the groundwork for public lands in New Mexico to be sold off. You listened and you responded. Over 370 people sent emails and countless more signed, shared, and posted our call to action.
And today, Senator Papen gave a brief statement to the Senate Education committee (where she referenced all the input she’d received) and asked that the bill be tabled. SB 182 has now died in committee!

A Recap – Progressive Action Summit 2017

Red River, and Raton, and Farmington, and Hobbs, oh my! People came from near and far on January 7th, for ProgressNow NM’s first ever, Progressive Action Summit. The Summit was a jam packed day of exactly that – action. If you weren’t able to be with us, you might be wondering what happened:

22 Community Organizations: delivered presentations, workshops or panels, concerning and or addressing current and or proposed legislation, while gathering awareness and support around their issue. 22 Elected Officials: gave time out of their day to participate, present, engage with and respond to citizens and leaders from our communities.

*Update on Las Cruces school bus drivers*

Las Cruces Public Schools Withdraws Restraining Order against Union Bus Drivers
From AFT press release

April8, 2016

American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly and Las Cruces Transportation Federation #6341 President Marcos Torres released the following statement:

“It is welcome news that the Las Cruces Public Schools Board has voluntarily withdrawn its motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent a strike by the members of LCTF #6341. In addition to withdrawing its motion, the LCPS Board has also vacated its temporary restraining order, and the courts have dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety. This is a victory for the rights of our members and organized labor across New Mexico. The right to strike over labor disputes is guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act, and we feel that any lawsuit attempting to curtail this right represents a grave injustice to our ability to negotiate safer conditions for our students and better policies for STS-NM employees. We renew our call for parents, community members, and the Las Cruces Public Schools Board to continue to pressure STS-NM to improve its policies on safety for our students and to create policies which attract and retain the best equipment operators possible.

Taos teacher quits in a very public way (w/ choice words for Martinez, Skandera on the way out)

Taos music teacher Ryan Allais is leaving the teaching profession, but not before telling Governor Martinez and her public education secretary exactly how their policies caused one of Taos’ most popular teachers to hate our education system:
Education at the state level is doomed! Good teachers are leaving! I am the current head band and choir director for Taos High School and Taos Middle School. I have been in education four years, here in Taos. I am a Taos native and educated by the fine teachers of Taos.

[UPDATED] Las Cruces school bus drivers striking? Not so fast.

[UPDATED on 4/6/16. Update at bottom of post.]

Members of Las Cruces Transportation Federation Local 6341 voted to strike this week after STS-NM, a private school bus company contracted by the Las Cruces Public Schools, failed to agree to needed changes to drivers’ contracts. But late Thursday afternoon a Las Cruces district Judge issued a temporary restraining order against the union and ordered all drivers to work until at least April 12. Drivers are not currently offered sick leave, haven’t seen a pay raise in years, and often drive overcrowded buses which threaten student and driver safety. LCPS Superintendent Stan Rounds sought the injunction, citing concerns about kids not being able to get to school, but didn’t seem worried about them crowding into over-packed buses with drivers who may be ill but can’t afford to stay home from work.

Why does Kelly Fajardo keep voting against kids??

Republicans in New Mexico’s House of Representatives claim to put kids first but their actions show differently. Take Rep. Kelly Fajardo for example. Already during this legislative session she’s joined her fellow Republicans on multiple party-line votes against New Mexico’s schoolchildren. In a committee vote this week Fajardo voted against investing in early childhood education for New Mexico’s kids. With that vote, she stood against 66% of New Mexicans who support expanding early childhood services with our state’s permanent fund.

Supporters of local control defend Cruces school board against PED overreach

Tuesday night the Las Cruces Public Schools board of directors met for work and ProgressNow NM was there. It was the first meeting since Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera sent a scathing letter threatening a state takeover of the board last week. Tuesday’s meeting was full of supporters of the LCPS board, many wearing stickers that said, “I support local control.”

That’s feeling of local teachers, administers, parents and even students who feel that the PED secretary’s heavy-handed, top-down policies take needed control away from local schools. At points the audience applauded comments from the board and fellow attendees in calling PED’s accusations baseless and an intrusion into local matters. From the Las Cruces Sun-News:

The board room at the LCPS Administration Building was nearly full Tuesday, filled mostly with district employees, union representatives and members of the community who had shown up to express their support for the beleaguered board.