New Mexico governor calls for greater educational spending

    New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks at a press conference in Albuquerque, N.M. on Monday, Jan 7, 2019, after announcing appointments to agencies that oversee childhood wellbeing, environmental protection, state police and state personnel decisions. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

    New Mexico’s newly inaugurated Democratic governor is proposing a half-billion dollar increase in annual state spending on public education after years of austere budgeting by her Republican predecessor.

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday released a budget proposal that calls for a 13 percent increase in general fund spending to $7.1 billion for the fiscal year starting on July 1.

    The proposal includes a 6 percent pay increase for teachers and educational staff and higher minimum teacher salaries. The plan also seeks $110 million in new school spending directed at students from low-income and minority families.

    The governor is seeking funding for 100 new positions in child protective services.

    A booming oil sector in the southeast of the state has provided a windfall in income for state government.

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