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Last updated 10:16PM ET
September 19, 2018
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First News: New Mexico's waiver application for opting out of No Child left Behind is denied. (listen)
(KSFR) - New Mexico's application to have its schools exempted from the federal "No Child Left Behind" program has been denied. Ours one of eleven states seeking a waiver from the program and the only one turned down. State education officials say, however, the New Mexico is very close to achieving a waiver in the near future. That will be based on appraisal of the strength of alternative achievement standards the state puts forward. "No Child Left Behind" mandates that schools demonstrate by 2014 that students are proficient in math and reading or risk penalties. New Mexico recently adopted a system of grading schools on an "A" through "F" scale that federal education officials say could misrepresent scholastic achievement.

In the landmark $26 billion national settlement by large mortgage servicers announced Thursday, New Mexico will see $92 million. Only loans being serviced by Ally, Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase are covered. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans are not. The settlement includes loan term modifications, principal reduction, and refinancing for underwater borrowers who are current on loans, plus millions to fund state foreclosure prevention efforts.

State Senator Steve Neville's bill designed to remove any possible undue political influence that could lead to corruption on the State Investment Council has unanimously passed the Senate. The bill removes the elected positions of the Governor, Treasurer and Land Commissioner from serving on the council and makes major changes in the way council members are appointed so that no one person can have undue influence and authority over the Council. The bill has a week to get through the House

The current owner of the Old St. Catherine's Indian School campus in Santa Fe has been indicted on charges of fraud in procuring $11 million made available through a program for disabled veterans. Max Tafoya and his son-in-law Tyler Cole were both named in the nine-count indictment from a federal grand jury. Among multiple penalties, each faces a possible five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine on conspiracy charges alone. The pair is alleged to have made false statements in order to have Tafoya's business qualify for a federal program that assists veterans with disabilities related to their military service. Tafoya has no such disability and is alleged to have paid a relative who does to use his name as owner of the company. In recent weeks, the City of Santa Fe has been talking about acquiring St. Catherine's from Tafoya with an appraisal price of $1.9 million. Tafoya has said the property is worth several times that amount.

While the house has sent the Senate legislation aiming to curtail driver's licenses for undocumented foreign nationals, a coalition of organizations including Somos un Pueblo Unido and the NM Assoc. of Bilingual educators is hosting a community dialogue today at the Roundhouse. The focus is on anti-immigration legislation and the struggle for civil rights. A convocation takes place at the Capitol Rotunda at 10AM and a panel discussion will be held at 5PM at Hotel Santa Fe.

A manhunt for an escaped fugitive from Arizona put three Santa Fe schools under lockdown Thursday after the suspect abandoned his car near Santa Fe High. Jairo Contreras had been on the lam for two weeks and was considered armed and dangerous. After ditching his vehicle, he made his way on foot to his girlfriend's home on Camino Rancho Siringo. The home was quickly surrounded by a SWAT team and Contreras surrendered without incident. He's expected to be quickly returned to law enforcement in Arizona, where he's facing a number of charges including criminal trespass, theft and violating probation.

Weather for Santa Fe - mostly sunny today and Saturday; highs today in the low 40s, upper 40s tomorrow. Saturday night brings a 20% chance for snowshowers, increasing to 40% on Sunday. Sunday's highs in the low 40s will likely see precipitation fall as a rain/snow mix but will turn to all snow in the overnight hours.
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