Can New Mexico depend on oil and gas to fuel its schools?

Educators in New Mexico demanded the state find a more reliable source of revenue for public schools which are currently dependent on oil and gas for the bulk of its budget.

The fossil fuel industry, one of New Mexico’s main economic drivers, most recently busted during the COVID-19 pandemic when the price per barrel of domestic crude dropped below $0 per barrel for the first time in history.

This led to a drop in oil and gas production in New Mexico, jobs losses and turned a $2 billion surplus into a $400 million deficit in the state’s budget last year.

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In a Monday letter to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a collection of education and child well-being advocacy groups including the New Mexico chapter of the National Education Association (NEA) – the largest teacher union in the U.S. – voiced concern to state leadership about the cyclical nature of oil and gas and that New Mexico’s dependence on the industry led to difficulties in planning for the future.