Gov. Martinez adds millions to budget to replace outdated textbooks

Posted at: 01/25/2014 10:42 PM
Updated at: 01/25/2014 11:02 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4



There is a battle brewing over books.

Governor Susana Martinez announced Saturday that she is adding $9 million to her budget so that school districts across New Mexico can replace outdated textbooks.

But the legislature may have a different vision on how to spend that money.

"We’re comparing what the governor has proposed and what the legislature has proposed and it is quite significantly different when it comes to textbooks because there is a lack of understanding of how important it is that we don't give kids books that are 3 decades old," Martinez said.

The governor’s budget adds $9 million more compared to last year for replacing old text books across the state.

The total budget line item in 2014 is $30 million for new textbooks.

But Representative Mimi Stewart, who sits on The House Education Committee, says it is the governor who lacks understanding.

"It’s a funny year for the governor to ask for an increase in instructional materials because the books that schools have to buy for next year are for career and technical classes and driver's ed," said Stewart.

Stewart says the state rotates subjects every year and history and science are not even on the rotation for next year.

"I wish she had increased it last year when it was math and the years before that when it was reading," Stewart said.

Stewart welcomes more funding to public education, but wonders if they money may be suited best elsewhere for this year.

“There are a lot of needs out there in education,” Stewart said. “I would like the governor to increase lots of areas. It's just an odd thing to do this year when the need for textbooks is lower than in previous years."

"We have a lot of priorities in education; we want them to be at the highest level possible," Martinez said.

In another point of contention, some house Democrats want funding for smaller class sizes.

The Martinez Administration has publicly said smaller class sizes are not a priority.