FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2023
SANTA FE, NM – Today, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) presented its FY25 budget request in a hearing before the Legislative Finance Committee, outlining the agency’s plans for increasing access to early childhood programs and services, maintaining expanded eligibility for child care assistance, and investing in quality supports for early childhood providers and professionals. ECECD is requesting a $149,372,000 increase in general funds over FY24 and special appropriations totaling $23,500,000 for a total FY25 operating budget of $818,186,900.
“Because of bold investments by our state legislature and strong leadership from our governor, New Mexico has shot to the front of the pack in early childhood education and care,” said ECECD Cabinet Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “Families across the state are feeling the benefits, and this budget solidifies those gains and maintains our forward momentum. This proposal will allow us to serve more children with high-quality care, keeps child care free for a majority of New Mexico families, and ensures that the early childhood workforce has the credentials they need and the compensation they deserve.”
“New Mexico has become a national leader in early childhood care and education by investing heavily in our youngest children through the state budget,” said Jacob Vigil, Deputy Policy Director for New Mexico Voices for Children. “The proposed ECECD budget continues this work by prioritizing thoughtful, equitable funding for the systems and programs our kids need to thrive. We commend Secretary Groginsky for building on the progress that’s been made and we share the Department’s vision for vital initiatives such as accessible home visiting programs and a well-compensated child care workforce.”
“Our win securing constitutional childcare funding was a step forward, but our work continues,” said OLÉ member Merline Gallegos, Director of Kelly’s Learning Academy in Las Cruces. “We attended the LFC hearing to ensure childcare funding prioritizes essential programs like professional wages and career paths which will transform our early education system. We applaud the Early Education and Care Department for their steadfast championing of funding for these programs.”
Studies show that investments in high-quality early childhood education strengthens families, has the potential to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, and provide a 13 percent annual return on investment. More than 80 percent of a human’s brain develops in the first three years of life and high-quality early education and care during this critical period of development improves long term outcomes such as lower special education, higher graduation rates, improved mental and physical health, economic mobility, reduced criminal justice system involvement, and a host of other individual and societal benefits.
FY25 ECECD BUDGET REQUEST HIGHLIGHTS:
- GENERAL FUND INCREASE REQUESTS
- Child Care ($75,714,000)
- Maintain expanded income eligibility for child care assistance at 400 percent Federal Poverty Level ($120k/year for a family of four)
- Expand access to high quality child care for infants and toddlers through contracted slots
- Increase staffing for Child Care Services Bureau to handle increased caseloads
- Quality Initiatives ($40,000,000)
- Conduct research-based assessments, enhance coaching, professional development, technical assistance for child care (FOCUS Redesign)
- Increase PreK coaching and professional development on early literacy and social and emotional development
- Invest in a wage and career ladder for infant and toddler teachers and assistant teachers
- New Mexico PreK ($33,000,000)
- Expand access to 2,700 additional children in NM Early PreK and PreK
- SPECIAL APPROPRIATION REQUESTS
- Family Support and Early Intervention ($12,000,000)
- Pilot home visiting incentives and per child payments
- Create coordinated intake and referral system for home visiting
- Policy, Research, and Quality Initiatives ($6,500,000)
- Increase funding for the bilingual/Indigenous higher education endowments
- Support the use of technology to better connect families with child care and PreK services
- Program Support ($5,000,000)
- Fund low interest loans to build child care supply in underserved communities (administered in partnership with New Mexico Finance Authority)
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham launched the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) in 2020, making New Mexico among the first states to consolidate all early childhood programs and services under a single cabinet-level agency. Under this administration, ECECD has led the nation by expanding access to free New Mexico PreK, overseeing the largest investment in early childhood infrastructure in state history, and implementing cost-free child care for a majority of New Mexico families. Learn more about how ECECD supports children, families, and the early childhood professionals that serve our communities at nmececd.org. On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @NewMexicoECECD.
The New Mexico Public Education Department partners with educators, communities and families to ensure that all students are healthy, secure in their identity and holistically prepared for college, career and life. Currently, NMPED serves about 320,000 students in 189 districts and charter schools. Find an abundance of resources for administrators, educators, families and students at New Mexico Public Education Department (state.nm.us) or follow the NMPED on Facebook and Instagram.
The New Mexico Higher Education Department was established in 2005 and oversees the state’s public and tribal colleges, universities and special schools. It also oversees adult education and literacy programs statewide, manages state-funded financial aid programs and capital projects for higher education institutions, provides college readiness services via the GEAR UP program, and grants state authorization to private colleges operating within New Mexico. For more information, visit hed.nm.gov or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @NMHigherEd.