What New Mexico voters need to know about the Permanent School Fund:
- The Permanent School Fund (also known as the Land Grant Permanent Fund) was created when New Mexico became a state in 1912.
- It is a trust fund, but it differs from most trust funds because it has two sources of income:
- It receives money from oil, gas, and mineral production on 13 million acres of state lands.
- It also earns income on the investment of that money in the stock exchange.
- It grows, on average, about 11% per year.
- The state constitution requires that 5% of the fund be withdrawn every year to support public education, hospitals, and other beneficiaries.
- Only the voters have the power to change what percentage of the fund is withdrawn every year.
- In the last fiscal year, the fund provided $836.5 million to its beneficiaries, about 80% of which went to our K-12 schools.
- New Mexico’s Permanent School Fund is currently valued at nearly $26 billion.
- For comparison, the state budget is usually between $7 billion and $8 billion each year.
About the Permanent School Fund ballot question:
The Permanent School Fund ballot question will appear on the back of your November 8 General Election ballot. This question asks voters about approving the distribution of a small additional percentage (1.25%) of the Fund for education. That would result in about $150 million in new funding available for early childhood education and roughly $100 million in additional funding for teachers and programs to address inequities in educational outcomes for at-risk students in our public schools (at-risk is defined in the Yazzie/Martinez v New Mexico court decision as low-income, Native American, English language learning, and special education students).
This additional funding will come from oil and gas revenues and interest on the fund’s investments. It does not raise taxes on New Mexicans.
Read the Legislative Finance Committee Public Education Subcommittee report on addressing the Yazzie/Martinez v New Mexico court decision.
Voting on November 8, 2022
Voting and registering to vote are easier than ever in New Mexico! If you are unregistered or need to update your registration, visit NMVote.org. Then, don’t forget to FILL OUT THE ENTIRE BALLOT on November 8.
TEXT OF THE PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND BALLOT QUESTION:
PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT ARTICLE 12, SECTION 7 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO TO PROVIDE FOR ADDITIONAL ANNUAL DISTRIBUTION OF THE PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND FOR ENHANCED INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENTS AT RISK OF FAILURE, EXTENDING THE SCHOOL YEAR, TEACHER COMPENSATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION; REQUIRING CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL FOR DISTRIBUTION FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION.
What nearly $250 million in new annual funding might pay for:
- Hiring more teachers
- Expanding early childhood services like home visiting, high-quality child care, and pre-kindergarten
- Creating high school career technical education and job training programs
- Raising teacher salaries and increasing their benefits
- Supplying classroom technology
- Expanding mental health services for students and educators
- Hiring more student support staff, including counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses
- Expanding programs that support at-risk students
- Paying for building maintenance and repair, including new ventilation systems
- Extending the school year for additional instruction (optional for communities)
Volunteer to help the effort!
Help us educate voters on the Permanent School Fund ballot question! We need volunteers to reach voters – can you spare a few hours to make phone calls or send text messages between now and November 8th? Please sign up here.