Did PED Secretary Designate Hanna Skandera’s elimination of the entire Educational Technologies Bureau put New Mexico’s public schools at risk of losing millions of dollars in federal technology funds?

Skandera laid off the only individuals certified to approve NM Technology Plans leaving no one to approve pending Technology Plans and no contact person to work with the Federal Government.

     The chair of the NM Council on Technology in Education (“CTE”), a state mandated advisory group to the Legislature and Public Education Commission, wrote an email on June 12, 2011 to CTE members calling for an emergency meeting following the layoffs of the staff of the Educational Technologies Bureau. Those laid off included the only two approvers of NM Technology Plans and as a result “the implications for the State of New Mexico are disastrous at best”. With the entire bureau eliminated, “there is no longer a review and approval process in place for technology plans.” 

     According to the email, there were “at least five Tech Plans awaiting approval” at the time of the layoffs. These five plans needed to be approved by the end of June 2011 or “the applying districts will not be in compliance with federal standards” . Further, “since the agency approving Tech Plans for New Mexico has been eliminated, the Schools and Library Division of USAC (the federal authority that awards impoverished school districts money for communication needs and infrastructure) no longer has contacts for Erate questions and validations.” 

    In an accompanying press release dated June 16, 2011 (which we don’t know if it was sent to major media outlets) CTE “unanimously expressed concern about the elimination of the Educational Technologies Bureau and the potential loss of millions of dollars in federal aid for K-12 school technology in New Mexico.”

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