A recent Project: Reader Reaction question asked about the proposed Constitutional amendments on the ballot Sept. 23. Some responses:
“Amendment 1 could save money that could be utilized somewhere else. As far as Amendment 2 goes, I know the schools could probably use more money, but the Land Grant money has been there since before the state of New Mexico was even a state. There is enough interest accumulated from the fund to give to the schools, but I don’t think the fund itself should be touched. What are the schools going to do when the money is gone?” — Ardyth Elms, Clovis
“Creating a cabinet-level Secretary of Education would place responsibility for educating the children of New Mexico squarely on the shoulders of the governor. This could be a good thing. At the present time, no one is to blame for the state of our schools. The governor, however, should be careful what he prays for.
“Just as nature abhors a vacuum, politicians can’t abide anything called a “Permanent Fund.” It seems incredible today, but at one time the Social Security Trust Fund actually had “funds” in it. The quickest way to turn a “permanent” fund into a temporary or non-existent fund is to allow politicians to tinker with the mechanism that keeps the fund “permanent.” — R.L. Render, Clovis
“While some will argue that Amendment 1 gives the governor, and politics, too much control over what happens in public education in New Mexico, I think this amendment will allow for more direct accountability and responsiveness within the department of education and ultimately hold the governor and the commission members accountable for our educational system in this state. Amendment 2 is not a good proposal. It will open the door to further legislative proposals which may have merit but … could endanger the long-term health of the fund. If more funding for education is needed, we should be looking at ways to save money by streamlining, reducing spending in related areas on a priority basis, and perhaps even raising taxes if it comes to that.” — Bob Baker, Clovis
“I will gladly vote yes for New Mexico Constitutional Amendment 1 because it is a sound idea and should provide a clearer focus for legislators and educators to work together. On the other hand, I worry that support of Constitutional Amendment 2 could set a very dangerous precedent if adopted. … I don’t think we need to raid the Land Grant Permanent Fund. It stands against everything that the fund was created for.” — Bill Middleton, Clovis
“The plan to create a cabinet level secretary of education is another form of control so the governor can take more rights away from the people. If he appoints the man in charge then he will have the say over what happens. We need to wake up and vote no on this amendment. … Although my wife is a teacher and a pay raise would be well deserved, I feel that (Amendment 2) is (also) a mistake. We cannot dip into a fund with a hope of replacing the money in the future.” — Don Reid, Clovis
“I just returned from the mall and voting for both amendments. I see no reason why they have so many board members to begin with. I always knew from past experience with the government that they always did overdo a good thing and that’s where the waste starts. It’s always good to have money to pay our underpaid teachers and also use money for education. I say go for it in both cases. One can never do too much for education and its dedicated teachers.” — Gerald Majewski, Clovis