Court halts Lujan Grisham’s 180-day PED rule in shock win for rural schools

A coalition of New Mexico school superintendents has initiated legal action against state officials, challenging the public education department’s imposition of a 180-day school calendar. 

The superintendents argue that the rule represents a case of “executive overreach,” according to Stan Rounds, the executive director for the New Mexico School Superintendents Association.

During a court session in Roswell, a District Court judge issued a temporary restraining order against the New Mexico Public Education Department’s (NMPED) mandate, which was set to start in fall 2024. 

The rule would abolish the four-day school weeks prevalent in many of the state’s rural areas. “If you do a four-day week under the new rule, you essentially will have to go to school about 49 of those 52 weeks,” explained Rounds.

The lawsuit, supported by over 50 school districts and including officials from Mosquero, contends that the extended calendar would significantly increase travel times, costs, and burdens for both students and staff. 

Superintendent Johnna Bruhn of Mosquero Municipal Schools highlighted these concerns, stating, “The issue is, it’s going to be an increase in travel time and an increase in costs and an increase in the burden on the students and the staff.”

The discontent extends beyond administrators to the community. Ronald Dixon, whose grandchildren attend school in Grady, expressed his disapproval, emphasizing the impact on recovery and rest. “I just totally object to it because they don’t give the kids an opportunity to rest, as well as the teachers, and give everybody a break,” he said.

In response to the lawsuit, the PED provided a statement defending the policy by pointing to schools that voluntarily adopted longer calendars and reportedly saw improved student outcomes. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham also voiced support for the rule, asserting that it would enhance the state’s educational performance.

However, a court just ruled that PED’s mandate violates 2023’s law change requiring 1140 instructional hours and does not comply with legislative history. Additionally, the rule was found to be at odds with legislative history. The judge emphasized that legislative power prevails in determining the structure of educational policies.

Referencing the 2009 law that initially introduced the 180-day requirement and its repeal two years later in 2011, the judge highlighted this legislative action as indicative of the intent not to enforce such a mandate. Furthermore, the judge pointed out that PED’s delay of 12 years to enact the 180-day rule, as noted in a December communication to the Legislative Finance Committee, suggests that the department itself doubted its authority to impose this requirement.

As a result, the judge granted a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the rule, citing its inconsistency with established statutes and its contravention of legislative objectives. The court also mandated that PED must approve school budgets that adhere to current legal standards.

The court requires the submission of findings within ten days to support this order. Additionally, a scheduling discussion is set for Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. to address the matter further.


15 thoughts on “Court halts Lujan Grisham’s 180-day PED rule in shock win for rural schools”

  1. She states it will help our education outcome, we’re 50 of 50. Many of these 4 day school districts are excelling at their processes but the Tiny TyRunt refuses to even visit them to see what they’re doing to exceed beyond the standard.

  2. Michelle Lujan Grisham, leave the kids alone! You turn your eyes away from the pedos running the education systems, and try your best to limit successful education with full passion. We are already last in the Union in most all areas. LEAVE THE KIDS ALONE!

    Rev. Rico

  3. We don’t need in-doc-trin-a-tion.
    We don’t need your thought control.
    No racist tea-ching in the class-room.
    Gri-sham leave those kids a-lone.
    Hey! Grisham! Leave those kids a-lone.

    Sung to the tune of “The Wall.”

  4. My teaching career had been in rural schools. I taught in 5 day school week and in 4 day school week. I knew I had to cover the material in a certain amount of time at the 4 day week. Our schools excelled! Several of these schools have been 4 day week for close to 50 years and they have been doing well in meeting the needs of the students for success.
    I also owned and operated a school bus route. My route started at 6:00 am and got home around 5:30 or so depending on weather. 2 hours on 50 miles of dirt roads, 15 miles of paved road. Four day weeks work. The districts had the say on what was best for their students and their school. The state needs to let the districts make those decisions

    1. PED should be dissolved and decisions be put back in the hands of the Superintendents. My first years in education, we made our curriculum based on state standards, school standards, students and community. I think when No Child Left Behind (Bush) started spiraling down. Then a person with no education background was put in charge of PED, down, down some more. Testing and more testing, more computer use ended up with less classroom instruction. And here we are now………

  5. If mandating 180 days of schooling will improve the “learning” then
    why not go to 250 days a year. That way the school teachers, the
    school administrators, the cafeteria workers, the custodians, the
    bus drivers, the school counselors, the school nurses,etc can all
    work like the rest of the people in the state that have to pay for
    all of these positions. Besides who cares if they actually learn
    skills that will get them a real job, a real career in this state or
    any other state. As it is now, the children are last in about every
    metric that can be measured.

  6. Tyrant, leave those kids alone! ( From Pink Floyd’s “The Wall:” “Teacher, leave those kids alone!”

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