ECECD expects slightly smaller budget than requested

The budget passed by the legislature this year contained much, though not all, of what the Early Childhood Education and Care Department requested. The ECECD asked for $800 million in funding and expects to receive nearly $785 million for Fiscal Year 2025. ECECD Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky said the key areas where their requests were unfulfilled  […]

ECECD expects slightly smaller budget than requested

The budget passed by the legislature this year contained much, though not all, of what the Early Childhood Education and Care Department requested.

The ECECD asked for $800 million in funding and expects to receive nearly $785 million for Fiscal Year 2025. ECECD Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky said the key areas where their requests were unfulfilled  were in access to pre-K and to increasing quality.

“We had hoped to increase access [to pre-K] to 2,700 more children. It will be about half of that, 1,300 additional children,” Groginsky said.

She said that that means that more families will rely on early childcare for their toddlers to allow the parents to work but early childcare requires eligibility requirements for cost waivers.

Groginsky said another way for the agency to try to meet the goal of enrolling more three year old children in New Mexico into pre-K is through Head Start, which is a federal program. She called it a “mixed delivery system.”

She said Head Start and ECECD use very similar standards using a researched-based curriculum. Teachers must have a bachelor’s degree in early childcare and assistants must have associate degrees. She said Head Start serves families that make up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

“It’s limited who it can reach,” she said. 

In terms of increasing quality, Groginsky said the focus is on trying to improve pay for teachers for infants and toddler. She said the legislature provided $5 million a year for three years. The agency requested $10 million per year.

She said another area was in providing funds for low interest loans. The department asked for $3 million but were allocated $1.75 million for that.

The low interest loans are important because the state still needs to build out the early childhood education center supply. 

Bill Jordan, interim director and governmental relations officer for New Mexico Voices for Children, told NM Political Report that ECECD “needed significant money and they got it.”

“We’re pleased with the continued investment in early childhood programs,” Jordan said.

He said the state needs increased availability to pre-K and early childcare but that work is challenging because the pay for those workers tends to be low. 

“Building out that system has required an increase in reimbursement and wages so we have a sufficient workforce. Most of the effort in expanding early childhood scope of services has been in trying to improve quality by improving wages,” Jordan said.

Jordan said that while the state can’t dictate wages, it can tie additional funding to quality incentives “that will play out in a way that providers will be able to pay more to attract more qualified staff and improve the quality of pre-K and childcare.”

Groginsky said the “big takeaway” about the FY2025 budget, which begins July 1, is that “the gains the state made during the COVID-19 pandemic of building a high quality universal early care education system to support families and children to enter kindergarten and take up the K through 12 experience will be maintained.”

“We wanted to go a little further but we have the vision and it will still become a reality for New Mexico,” Groginsky said.

Groginsky said one of the interesting things about the ECECD budget is that it will use funding from the Early Childhood Trust Fund to cover doulas and lactation specialists through Medicaid funds. Groginsky said the ECECD will transfer the funds necessary to the new Health Care Authority, which is the new name for the New Mexico Human Services Department.

Groginsky said providing these funds to help support doulas and lactation specialists is important to ECECD because of the department’s focus on prenatal to age three.

“We know those services are very connected to positive outcomes for children and mothers. Many home visiting programs hire lactation consultants or doulas to connect moms. Building a prenatal to five [years old] system that is comprehensive using the Childhood Trust Fund makes sense to be comprehensive in approach,” Groginsky said.

Groginsky said another area where the agency would have liked to have received more money in the FY 2025 budget was for providing more home visiting incentives. She said the legislature gave the department some money to support incentives through the Medicaid home visiting program. 

She said receiving less money than the department asked for won’t hurt because there is still home visiting which can be utilized under Medicaid.

“We’ve put together a step-by-step manual and learned a lot about the process to become a Medicaid provider. We’re building the work intentionally around referrals and members who are eligible and private sector funding,” she said.

Groginsky said the department is hitting its target of 1,500 Medicaid home visiting and relying on Medicaid makes the state’s dollars go further.

An interim legislative committee hearing last year led to a discussion of the problems with the ECECD’s home visiting program. A report found that when families take advantage of the service, they often fail to continue it for the entire length of time required. Groginsky said the department wants to work on workforce issues so the home visitors don’t leave the field. She said the problem is that when a home visitor leaves the profession, the family that established a rapport with the home visitor doesn’t want to start over again with someone new.

Related: Home visiting program struggles to grow participation as funding increases

Groginsky said the legislature gave the agency $2 million in nonrecurring funds to build out that system. She said that when Medicaid is the payer, the state only has to pay the state match.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she will call the Legislature into a special session this summer to address public safety legislation that did…
Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women candidates and reproductive rights, endorsed seven incumbents facing general election opponents in New Mexico legislative elections. All…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalized its controversial public lands rule on Thursday. This rule is controversial because it allows for conservation leasing…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury announced a bill on Thursday that would, if enacted, establish judicial ethics to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Judicial Ethics…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

By Justin Horwath, NM In Depth It’s a safe bet Democrats will barrel into 2025 with their supremacy intact at the New Mexico Legislature.…
Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

U.S. Rep. Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez, a Democrat who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District along the U.S.-Mexico border, cosponsored a resolution on Monday calling…
Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

By Justin Horwath, NM In Depth It’s a safe bet Democrats will barrel into 2025 with their supremacy intact at the New Mexico Legislature.…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report