Inequity Guarantee? Dividing up the School Funding Pie

pieHow do you take $2.4 billion dollars and divide it up “equally” among all of New Mexico’s school children?  That’s what the State Equalization Guarantee formula is supposed to do.  But Santa Fe kids get only $6,400 per student while Wagon Mound, New Mexico kids get $12,926 per child.  How is this possible? Superintendent Joel Boyd calls the stunningly complex mathematical formula an “inequity guarantee” rather than an equalization  guarantee, and is considering a lawsuit.  The formula has been amended over 80 times by the legislature since its inception in 1972, and every group that has studied the formula thinks it’s broken.  In today’s show, with the help of Charles Sallee, Deputy Director of the Legislative Finance Committee, I explain the top five problems with the formula.  Part two of this story will discuss the planned lawsuit in more detail.

Listen to the show (Ep. #41):

If you have trouble with the media player above, click here to play the show, or get it in the iTunes music store.

Further reading:

the mind-bogglingly complex formula spreadsheet (just keep scrolling down!)

A list of the dollars per student spit out by the spreadsheet for each district and charter school in New Mexico. (Charters are treated as teeny tiny districts under the formula.)

The Legislative Finance Committee study on the funding formula.

The Legislative Finance Committee power point explaining the problems with the formula.

The Maddox Foundation study on the formula

Colorado’s new new funding formula bill overhaul signed into law

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Liquor License Update: No Margarita For You!

dop_margaritaLast year, I looked in detail at the New Mexico Liquor Control Act  and found out why liquor licenses in  New Mexico cost up to $500,000.  This year, I went back to see whether anything had changed.  And the answer is…  no!  Steve Reinhart, who I interviewed last year, is gone, and Jennifer M. Anderson is the new Director of the Division of Alcohol and Gaming at the Department of Regulation and Licensing.  But other than that, the current license holders — the 1411 — as Jennifer Anderson calls them — still have a stranglehold on making an common sense changes to our post-prohibition Liquor Control Act.  It costs $1,000 a year to serve beer and wine in your restaurant, but if you want to serve scotch or margaritas, you have to try to buy one of the 1411 outstanding licenses from an existing holder and that could cost you up to $600,000 (the most recent price on June 1 of this year, $100,000 more than last year!)   And a New Mexico Minute by Jim Atwood on Governor Martinez’s increasingly embarrassing record of non-achievement.

Listen to the show:  (Ep. #42)

Or click here if you have trouble with the player above and don’t forget this show and all past shows are available in the iTunes music store– Just look for Santa Fe Stories.

See the price of all recent liquor licenses sales in New Mexico here.

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Travelogue: Semana Santa in Andalucia

IMG_2102I am back from Spring Break, and have a story about my trip to Andalucia, Spain.   From Sevilla, where I ended up by mistake, to Malaga and Ronda, Granada and Guadix, we had a fantastic trip seeing (or not seeing) the Semana Santa processions, a bull farm, a prehistoric cave, flamenco dancing and more.

Listen to the show, Ep. #40: (25 min)


Mi amiga buena, Susan Boe, took amazing photos, as usual, and you can see them below, mixed in with my not so great photos

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Bernice Pearl: A Neighborhood Gem

IMG_1327Bernice Pearl moved to Santa Fe five years ago from NYC when her husband died and, as she says, she “doesn’t waste a minute.”  She is 81 years old and, because she loves kids, chose to live in the Vista Linda apartment complex off Airport Road rather than in a retirement community.  She has  an open door policy for neighborhood kids who need a safe place to rest, relax, talk, and make art.  In her spare time she knits hats.  Last year she made 825 hats, all which she gave to charity.  She made 91 hats this January, and so is on track to break her record.  I talk to her and some of her kids at her south side apartment.  And Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on Tax Lightning.  This show will air on KSFR on March 30, at 1:30.

Listen to the show (Ep. #39):

… or Subscribe in iTunes and listen on your phone.  Search Santa Fe Stories in iTunes.

Photos of the hats and a few of bernice’s kids.

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Issa’s Quest: Radio Taboo

IMG_0090Some random thoughts on the Oscars, and an interview with the fascinating  Issa Nyaphaga, a Camerooni, activist, artist, journalist and one time refugee whose Radio Taboo project will build a radio tower in his village to help people talk about taboo subjects – rape, public health, the environment, women’s rights, gays and HIV infected people.  Issa also works with kids in the Santa Fe Public schools (those are our kids in the photo to the left) and teaches at the Santa Fe Community College.  Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on the sequester coming to New Mexico.  And … don’t forget to give me your dog stories!

Listen to the show, #38:

Issa Nyaphaga was born in Cameroon (central Africa) and grew up in the small village of the Tikar tribe in the very heart of Cameroons equatorial forest. The Tikar are primarily farmers and like the other Tikar children, Issa was initiated in his early childhood into traditional painting.

Issa became a political cartoonist for the satirical newspaper, Le Messager Popoli. Opposed to the political regime in Cameroon, he was tortured and jailed. In 1996, he escaped from his country to seek asylum in France, where lived and worked for 10 years.
Currently based in Santa Fe, Issa still divides his time between the United States, Paris and Cameroon where he shares his work and advice with students and young artists, also conducting therapeutic workshops for children-at-risk.


Issa’s Radio Taboo Project

Issa on Facebook

Photos of Issa with Santa Fe Public School kids:

IMG_0123 IMG_0113 IMG_0100 IMG_0114 IMG_0115 IMG_0119

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Breakthrough Santa Fe!

2012-07-25_14.54_.53_A very short review of Warm Bodies, some thoughts on the school bonds and Glenn Wikles’s vote, and all about Breakthrough Santa Fe. Hear Talia Winokur, the Director of Breakthrough Santa Fe and some Santa Fe Breakthrough students talk about the program and their experiences.   And Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute about the new courthouse and parking (or lack thereof).

Listen to the show, #37:

If you cannot see the player above, click here for the show, and don’t forget you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and get it on your phone.  Easy!

“Breakthrough is magical, inspirational, challenging, loving.  Whether we’re dissecting cows’ eyes or singing a new cheer at the top of our lungs, Breakthrough is dedicated to excellence.  Everyone, from students to teacher interns to directors, comes ready to learn.  And it’s that excellence in learning that launches our students on their path to college.”

Talia Winokur, Director, Breakthrough Santa Fe

Learn more about Breakthrough Santa Fe here.

More about the national program here.

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Over Gov’s Objection, Higher Ed Center Goes Forward

SFHEC rendering 1.wideaSome thoughts on God and Santa Claus, the Republican obsession with rape and incest, and Captain Underpants.  And an interview with Carole Brito about the new Higher Education Learning Center — how it was planned, how Governor Martinez tried to stop it and lost yet another lawsuit, and how it will be going forward.  Carole has served on the SFCC governing board for 12 years and tell the history of the project and the rationale behind building it. And Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute about the Spaceport and the trial lawyers.

Listen to the show, #36:

If you cannot see the player above, click here for the show, and don’t forget you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and get it on your phone.  Easy!

Ruling favors community college in higher education center dispute

Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Tuesday, November 06, 2012Campus Crusade: Santa Fe was on track to offer local students better access to four-year degrees—until things got all political
Santa Fe Reporter, 5.30.12
Wren Abbott and Joey PetersThe Higher Ed Center website

Carlsbad Republican’s bill prohibiting abortion after rape, incest draws ire and ridicule

Steve Terrell | The New Mexican
Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
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A Conversation about the Santa Fe Railyard

santa_fe_railyard_01Today I talk to Steve Robinson, Santa Fe architect and founding member and President of the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation, the non-profit corporation that manages the Railyard.  Steve tells the history of the project, answers my many questions and makes the case for evaluating the Railyard with a long-term perspective.  Also, I tell a dog story about a hall monitor and a rabbit, and briefly review “This is 40” (thumbs all the way down!)  And Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on Medicaid expansion.

Listen to the show, #35:

If you cannot see the player above, click here for the show, and don’t forget you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and get it on your phone.  Easy!

Read Steve’s recent op eds about progress at the Railyard and development of the movie theatre here.

Read a complete history of the Railyard here.

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Barbara Meikle: Painting and Rescuing Donkeys

donkey artSanta Fe Painter Barbara Meikle likes to say that she paints her Tesuque neighborhood, donkeys and the birds who ride on them, horses, trucks, sunflowers and sunsets.  She is also very involved in donkey welfare and rescue efforts, including at Edgewood Longears Safehouse in the East Mountains here in New Mexico and the Longhopes Donkey Shelter in Colorado.  Barbara and I talk about her painting, her gallery and her donkeys and donkey rescue.   And Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on NM congressperson Steve Pierce.

Listen to the show, #34:

If you can’t see the player above, click here to listen.  The show is also available free in the iTunes Music Store.

And some more pics:

A painting of Bindy, the therapy donkey who also rescues other donkeys:

He's My Hero

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Liberian Lights: Rich Fahey’s Story

Rich (the white guy) and his crew in Liberia

For the season of lights, we are broadcasting our story on Rich Fahey.  Rich Fahey and his wife Suzanne were Peace Corps Volunteers in Libera in the late 60s.  More than 40 years later, Rich is back,  bringing solar lights and a market for them to Liberia.  His company LEN grew out of a 2009 meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state and a complicated character.  Soon after, Rich retired from his law practice  became a 2010 Fellow at the Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI), a Harvard graduate school program that works with leaders who are preparing to transition to second careers in community service.  Rich tells his story of how all this came about on the show.   Since my interview with Rich, his company has been the subject of an article in the Harvard Business Review.
And Susan Boe has a special comment on gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.

Listen to the show (28 min)

If you can’t see the player above, click HERE to listen.

The lights/phone chargers!

Woman reading at night

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