Press release: Bingaman backs measure to help keep teachers in the classroom

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today joined in

introducing a bill to help prevent educator layoffs.

The economic downturn of the past two years has led to

extremely tight state budgets. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

– legislation that is helping rebuild the New Mexico economy – provided

over $500 million over two years to support our state’s schools and

prevent educator layoffs that harm students and the future of our state.

While the economy is beginning to show signs of growth, state budgets

continue to suffer. Many New Mexico school districts have been forced in

recent months to consider workforce reductions to remain solvent. To

bolster our public schools and prevent educator layoffs, Bingaman has

joined Senator Tom Harkin in introducing the Keep Our Educators Working

Act today. The bill will create a $23 billion Education Jobs Fund to help

keep teachers, principals, librarians and other school personnel on the

job as states face crippling budget shortfalls.

“We cannot be a prosperous nation without an educated workforce. As the

economy gains strength, we need to continue investing in our schools and

our children,” Bingaman said. “This legislation would help bolster

schools budgets, keep teachers in classrooms and provide students with the

best opportunities to learn.”

New Mexico would receive approximately $150 million under the Keep Our

Educators Working Act. Funding could be used for:

• Compensation and benefits and other expenses necessary to retain

existing employees, and for the hiring of new employees, in order to

provide early childhood, elementary, secondary, or postsecondary

educational and related services; or

• On-the-job training activities for education-related careers.