Feds tell New Mexico to stop diverting federal school aid

New Mexico

The New Mexico Public Education Department has been told to stop diverting millions of dollars in federal Impact Aid grants designated for specific school districts.

The decades-old program provides funding for districts nationwide to offset property tax losses from tribal lands, military bases, national forests and other tax-exempt federal lands within their boundaries.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the state essentially has redistributed much of that aid — over $63 million in 2019 _ and U.S. Department of Education has determined New Mexico wasn’t meeting an equity measurement required to redistribute federal aid.

Districts need the federal Impact Aid money to build and maintain facilities because they can’t raise enough construction funds through property taxes.

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