Overhaul of New Mexico public education system underway

Lawmakers are moving ahead with a proposal to overhaul New Mexico's oversight of public education by reversing a governance change voters adopted a decade ago.

The Senate Rules Committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment on a party-line Friday that would remove the Public Education Department from the direct control of the governor. Rather than having the agency run by a governor-appointed secretary of education, the proposal would establish a 10-member elective state board of education to set policy and select a state school superintendent to serve as the department's top administrator. That's similar to the governance system in place before the constitution was changed in 2003 at the urging of then Governor Bill Richardson. Committee Republicans voted against the latest proposal. Democrats backed the measure, which goes to another committee.