September 3, 2015

Auditor: New Mexico had $100M special education shortfallLas Cruces Sun News

New Mexico saw a shortfall of more than $100 million in special education funding for three years, and that shortfall put the state at risk of losing important federal funding, the New Mexico State Auditor's office announced Wednesday.

An independent accounting firm found the shortfall in special education funding from July 2009 to June 2012 during the audit, according to the office. Those numbers were based on New Mexico Public Education Department's calculations, the office said.

The announcement was just the latest in the long dispute over special education funding in New Mexico, and it comes at a time when Republican Gov. Susana Martinez pushes through record education spending this year. The state's Public Education Department is currently in a legal dispute with the U.S. Department of Education over to how to calculate New Mexico's special education funding.  - - 9/3/15


Court strips lesser prairie chicken of federal protection -- Santa Fe New Mexican/Associated Press

A federal court in Texas has stripped the lesser prairie chicken of Endangered Species Act protections, a victory for oil and gas companies that argued conservation efforts are working.

District Judge Robert Junell ruled Tuesday in Midland that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to make a proper evaluation of the states’ conservation plan when it listed the lesser prairie chicken — a species of grouse with feathered feet and striped plumage — as threatened.