SCOTUS Victory for Trinity Lutheran – What does this mean for New Mexico?
On June 26 the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church / Pre-School (MO) regarding the use of state funds for a private school playgrounds. This decision now “vacates” the November, 2015 ruling of the New Mexico Supreme Court and requires them to re-consider their ruling based upon the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. While this does not fully settle the textbook lending/ funding issue here in New Mexico just yet, it is a substantial step in the right direction.
From the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty –
This is the Supreme Court’s second such ruling in two days. Yesterday, in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, the U.S. Supreme Court protected religious organizations’ right to participate in Missouri’s “safe playgrounds” initiative. Both the Missouri and New Mexico cases challenged Blaine Amendments, which are 19th century provisions in many state constitutions that discriminate against religious organizations. Today’s order requires the New Mexico Supreme Court to give the textbook program “further consideration in light of Trinity Lutheran.”
“In preventing skinned knees or ensuring kids learn their A-B-C’s, states are getting a clear message from the Supreme Court: they can’t exclude people from participating in government programs because of their religion,” said Eric Baxter, senior counsel at Becket.
We are still awaiting word from the PED regarding the possibility of the textbook lending program being reinstated until this case is reconsidered, which may take some time as court cases often do. This story has received national attention, NMANS will keep you updated via email as events unfold.
School Choice Coalition update
This past winter and spring NMANS hosted seven regional meetings to discuss the possibility of forming a school choice coalition to bring some type of parental choice options to our families. The response was overwhelming as many indicated their support to see this goal become a reality.
In June the NMANS board met and spent the day in discussion regarding how to best shape our strategy, networking with other state and national organizations with similar goals, linking communication between the coalition and our schools, etc.
Over the course of the summer the board will be refining this strategy and we will be sharing this plan with schools in the fall. As we have learned from other states who have taken similar steps, the process is not a quick one and which will take the best efforts of us all. Grassroots involvement will be the key!
Congratulations to the 2017 NMANS TOY and AOY winners!
NMANS is excited to announce that Kathy Bosscher of Zuni Christian Mission School has been named 2017 Administrator of the Year and Jill Malone of Grace Baptist Academy in Farmington has been named the 2017 Teacher of the Year.
Kathy Bosscher is retiring this year from her leadership positon at ZCMS, where she has devoted much of her professional career to the school and its mission. During Kathy’s tenure the school enjoyed years of stability and impact locally, as well the recent completion of a 7-year building project that includes new facilities for both the school and church on the Zuni pueblo.
Jill Malone has taught at Grace Baptist Academy in Farmington for the past 19 years. Students and staff members describe Jill as one who is, “caring, smart, and teaches in a way that all can understand”. Among her professional accomplishments at GBA Mrs. Malone is known for producing high SAT scores from her students, it is common for her class to score in the top 10%-20% nationally on annual SAT tests.
Congratulations to both of our 2017 winners, we will publicly recognize both Kathy and Jill on October 20 at the conference!
NMANS Executive Director named to NMAA Commission
Recently Dr. John Foreman, NMANS Executive Director, was appointed by the NMAA to fulfill the seat vacated by Pete McFarland of Sandia Prep who retired this summer after 42 years of service to the school. We wish to congratulate Pete on his retirement and thank him for all he has done to represent private school athletics on the NMAA Commission for many years. John will complete this unexpired term through December.
A special words of thanks to a statewide leader in private schooling
NMANS would like to extend a special word of gratitude to Troy Williamson for his many years of leadership and faithful service to our board and non- public schools in our state. Troy serves at Menaul School in Albuquerque and over the years as taken many roles of leadership in both NMANS as well as Educate New Mexico.
Thanks Troy for all you have done, we are a better association because of your time on the board!