F20: Statutory Provisions and Funding
The Branch Community College Act (section 21-14-1 NMSA 1978), was enacted in 1957, to provide (a) the first two years of college transfer education or (b) organized career curricula of not more than two years' duration designed to prepare individuals for employment in recognized occupations, or both of the above. New Mexico Commission on Higher Education, a lay-board appointed by the Governor, is responsible for supporting two-year education in New Mexico. Branch colleges are organized by one or more school districts with local public school boards or specially elected advisory boards serving each branch in an advisory capacity. The advisory boards have three major responsibilities: calling elections for local property taxes for annual operating levies and capital outlay general obligation bonds; approving operating budgets; and certifying the local tax levy. Funding for the branch colleges comes from direct State appropriations and local tax levies. Budget requests for the branch colleges are approved by the local advisory boards, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents, and the Commission on Higher Education before being submitted to the Legislature.