The Santa Fe school board is considering asking state lawmakers to raise teacher pay “dramatically,” citing high teacher and staff vacancies and increasing housing costs in Santa Fe.

A “staffing crisis” resolution introduced by board President Kate Noble during a Thursday board meeting would, if approved, be sent to the Legislature ahead of the regular session in January.

It would authorize a task force for addressing “affordable housing for SFPS employees in the short, medium and long term.” The board likely will vote on the resolution at its next meeting.

“There seems to be some growing momentum in other places in the state to really raise the level of this crisis,” Noble said. “Especially in advance of our legislative session, when educational funding and educator salaries will be a really potentially important part of the discussion.”

District 1 City Councilor Signe Lindell has drafted a similar resolution for city leadership to vote on, Noble said. It’s co-sponsored by councilors Roman “Tiger” Abeyta and Jamie Cassutt.

If passed, the resolution also would direct superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez to investigate child care options for school workers and volunteers. Additionally, it would direct funds toward “staffing and system” upgrades for the district’s human resources department.

After the board read through the resolution, newly appointed District 5 board member Sascha Anderson called for more focus on recruiting indigenous teachers.

The resolution wasn’t the only mention of staffing issues during Thursday’s meeting.

The board voted to approve nearly $3,000 in “per capita” funding for two families that are now driving their special-needs children to district schools, as the district is unable to fill a vacant driver position for their usual bus route.

The funds will cover mileage fees accrued by parents until a driver is hired, Chavez said. Board Vice President Rudy Garcia and Anderson questioned if the approval would provide enough funding for parents.

“It does concern me that this is probably not enough compensation for a parent who needs to bring their special needs child to and from school,” Anderson said. “This is another ripple effect of that staffing shortage.”

(1) comment

Charlotte Rowe

Teachers are fundamentally underpaid across the country. This isn't an unreasonable ask.

Welcome to the discussion.

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