Seeking an increase of $600 million per year in state aid to education, attorneys for the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund will commence a trial on June 12 in the consolidated case of Yazzie v. State of New Mexico. Pre-trial arguments on the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment were held this week.
The cases were initiated three years ago, but Edward Tabet-Cubero, executive director of New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, said things have gotten worse under Gov. Susana Martinez. Districts went through two rounds of budget cuts during the current fiscal year, including a reduction in their cash reserves.
In October, 2014, the district court denied the state’s motion to dismiss. At that time, the Court explicitly affirmed that education is a fundamental right in New Mexico, stating: “Frankly, it’s hard not to think of a more important service that the state provides its citizens than the fundamental right to an education. An educated populace is not only fundamental to our current well-being but our future well-being.”