Under the law, some Carlsbad teachers may be eligible for raises
Just a week into the 2022 legislative session in New Mexico, lawmakers introduced legislation to address one of New Mexico’s most pressing issues – a statewide teacher shortage.
On January 26, the Senate Education Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 1, which would increase minimum salaries for teachers in New Mexico. New Mexico Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-17) said the bill is associated with a general 7% raise for all educators in the state.
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If passed as is, Senate Bill 1 would increase minimum salaries from $40,000 to $50,000 for level one teachers, from $50,000 to $60,000 for level two teachers and from $60,000 to $70,000 for level three teachers.
But, how would that affect Carlsbad educators?
National Education Association-Carlsbad President Rosemary Carrasco told the Current-Argus that the new minimums would increase the salaries of some level two and level three teachers in the district.
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Carlsbad Municipal Schools had already raised teacher salaries in 2021 in response to legislation that placed it at a disadvantage in funding educators and required the district to compete for experienced teachers with other area school districts, Carrasco said. .
“As a community near the Texas border, we weren’t able to recruit new educators to our community for years when the starting salary in Texas was 10,000 or more,” Carrasco said. . “NEA-Carlsbad has worked with the district to minimize and overcome the challenge of past legislation.”
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CMS raised its minimum starting salary to $50,000 for tier one teachers, $55,000 for tier two teachers and $65,000 for tier three teachers, as part of a collective bargaining agreement with the NEA -Carlsbad. Under the deal, teachers with 25 years of experience could earn up to $86,000 a year.
Under the bill, teachers who get a raise of more than 7% of the level increase will not receive an additional raise, according to the Department of Public Education. If the level increase does not result in a 7% increase, that teacher will get an additional increase to bring their increase to 7%.
“The first thing we recommend is that the minimums be put in place for all teachers and then the 7% increase be added after the minimums and that will allow for a lot more local control, more flexibility and greater opportunity” said Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus.
Lawmakers said the increases would help school districts recruit and retain educators after the number of teaching vacancies statewide nearly doubled from 571 in 2020 to 1,048 in 2021, according to the Southwest. Outreach Academic Research Evaluation & Policy Center.
As of January 26, CMS had 73 job openings, including 17 for teachers.
“This year’s legislation will allow us to work to ensure staff can meet the needs of life in our community while actively being able to recruit new educators to our district,” Carrasco said.
Claudia Silva is a reporter for UNM’s Local Reporting Fellowship. She can be reached at [email protected], by phone at 575-628-5506 or on Twitter @thewatchpup.