New Mexico Statutes Chapter 22. Public Schools § 22-4-3. Consolidation;  request;  districts without junior or senior high schools;  standards

A. The state board [department] may order consolidation of school districts upon receipt of and according to identical resolutions requesting consolidation from each local school board of each school district affected by the consolidation only if it determines that such consolidation:

(1) will help to equalize the educational opportunities for public school students in each school district affected by the consolidation;

(2) will make the most advantageous and economical use of public school facilities;

(3) takes into consideration the convenience and welfare of the public school students in each school district affected by the consolidation;  and

(4) is in the best interest of public education in each school district affected by the consolidation and in the best interest of the public education in the state.

B. The state board [department] may also order consolidation of a school district which has not maintained either a junior or senior high school program for two consecutive years prior to consolidation with an adjacent district which has maintained such programs for the students of both districts upon receipt of and according to identical resolutions requesting consolidation from each local school board of each school district affected by the consolidation.

C. The state board [department] may bring an action in the district court for an order of consolidation of two or more school districts when:

(1) all attempts to obtain an agreement between the local school boards to consolidate such school districts under Subsection A of this section have failed;

(2) one or more schools within the school districts proposed to be consolidated have received a disapproval accreditation status from the state department of education [public education department];  and

(3) after public hearing on such proposed consolidation, the state board makes findings of fact:

(a) that such consolidation will meet the criteria specified in Paragraphs (1) through (4) of Subsection A of this section;  and

(b) that one or more schools within a school district proposed to be consolidated are deficient in their ability to provide the necessary educational opportunities for public school students in that district.

D. Notice of public hearing shall be given by the state board [department] at least thirty days prior to the hearing date by two consecutive publications one week apart in a newspaper of general circulation in the deficient school district proposed to be consolidated.  The notice shall state:

(1) the subject of the hearing;

(2) the time and place of the hearing;  and

(3) the manner in which interested persons may present their views.

E. The public hearing shall be held in a suitable and convenient location within the deficient school district proposed to be consolidated.  At the hearing, the state board [department] shall allow all interested persons a reasonable opportunity to submit data, views or arguments, orally or in writing, and to examine witnesses testifying at the hearing.

F. Within ten days from the date the hearing is concluded the state board [department] shall make its determination in writing and if such determination includes an intention to bring an action for consolidation in the district court, such intention shall be included in the written determination.  A copy of the written determination of the state board shall be sent to each of the school boards concerned.

G. Within sixty days from the date of the issuance of its written determination, the state board [department] may bring an action for a court order of consolidation in the district court of any judicial district in which the deficient school district is located.  A copy of the petition for such action shall be served upon each of the local school boards affected by the consolidation.  Such local school boards shall be parties to the action.  The director shall authorize the necessary transfers and expenditures in the budgets of the concerned school districts to cover all necessary costs incurred by them in such action.  Upon request of any of the parties to the action, a jury trial shall be allowed.  The state board shall have the burden of establishing the existence of conditions required under Subsection C of this section and of proving that such consolidation will meet the criteria specified in Paragraphs (1) through (4) of Subsection A of this section.  The court may deny the order for consolidation if it is found that:

(1) the conditions prescribed in Paragraphs (1) and (2) of Subsection C of this section do not exist;

(2) such proposed consolidation will not meet the criteria specified in Paragraphs (1) through (4) of Subsection A of this section;  or

(3) that the alleged deficiency in the school district's ability to provide the necessary educational opportunities for public school students in such district does not exist.

H. In the event the court denies the order for consolidation, the state board [department] shall not again initiate such action for consolidation affecting the same or substantially the same school districts for one year after the date of the denial of such order.

I. In the event the court orders the consolidation, such consolidation shall not become effective until the end of the current school term.

J. Any final order of the district court is reviewable by the court of appeals in the same manner as provided under the rules of civil procedure.


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