Head Start Pay Parity Program

Your path to credentials and degrees

Head Start Parity Applications for the 2023-2024 school year are currently closed.  We will begin accepting applications again on August 15, 2024.

About the Program

The ECECD (Early Childhood Education and Care Department) Pay Parity Program provides pay parity to early childhood teachers and directors who work in Head Start programs, including Tribal Head Start programs.  The program is designed to recognize the lived experiences of early childhood educators and provide pay parity comparable to early childhood teachers working in a public school setting.

The program is open for applications beginning December 1, 2023 (first check issued in January 2024).  The last day to apply is May 15, 2024.

The program is open to:

  • Teachers or Directors who work in a
    • NM Head Start programs; or  
    • NM Tribal Head Start programs;  
  • Have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher in
    • Early Childhood Education     OR
    • Early Childhood Multicultural Education     OR
    • Other degree + Alternative Licensure* in Early Childhood
      • *or a minimum of 18 credit hours in ECE

Education/Work Requirements

Individuals who meet the above requirements will be assigned a category, depending upon their education and work experience.

  • Category 1: Bachelor’s Degree with 0-3 year’s work experience
  • Category 2: Bachelor’s Degree with more than 3 year’s work experience
  • Category 3: Master’s or Doctorate Degree with at least five year’s work experience

All qualifying work experience must be in NM.

Pay Parity Award Information

Applications for Head Start Pay Parity are being accepted beginning December 1, 2023 (with first check issued in January 2024).  The last day to apply is May 15, 2024.

When you apply for the Head Start Pay Parity program, you will need to provide your yearly salary amount.  The Pay Parity Program will pay the difference between the NM PED base amount and your salary.  This amount will pro-rated to reflect the six months of the program payments (January – June 2024).  Your payments will be divided into equal payments paid each month from January 2024 through June 2024.  The amounts below are for full-time employees.

  • Category 1: Bachelor’s Degree with 0-3 year’s work experience – $50,000 base amount
  • Category 2: Bachelor’s Degree with more than 3 year’s work experience – $60,000 base amount
  • Category 3: Master’s or Doctorate Degree with at least five year’s work experience – $70,000 base amount

See payment examples below:

  • Example 1:  An educator is identified as “Category 1”.  They have a Bachelor’s Degree in ECE.  They have 2 years of experience.  This person makes $27,000 per year.  The total parity amount paid is $50,000 – $27,000 = $23,000.  This amount would be pro-rated to reflect the payments starting in January.  The individual would receive 6 monthly payments of $2,300 for a total of $13,800 in payments.
  • Example 2:  An educator is identified as “Category 2”.  They have a Bachelor’s Degree in another field with at least 18 credit hours in ECE.  They have 5 years of experience.  This person makes $32,500 per year.  The total parity amount paid is $60,000 – $32,500 = $27,500.  This amount would be pro-rated to reflect the payments starting in January.  The individual would receive 6 monthly payments of $2,750 for a total of $16,500 in payments.

To qualify for your monthly Pay Parity Payments, you will need to submit a qualifying report each month.  This report is a part of your application.

  • Each month you will be reminded to complete your report.
  • You will need to provide a copy of your most recent check stub.
  • Your report is due by the 15th of each month.
  • Monthly payments will be issued AFTER we have received your report for the month.

Important Info

You must have a CNM W9 Form on file with CNM before any payments can be issued.  The Program Team will contact you if we need your W9 or to verify your information on file is current.

It is your responsibility to pay taxes on any Pay Parity payments.  Taxes will not be withheld from the payments you receive.  Head Start Parity payments will affect the taxes you pay each year.

Any qualified applicant who receives pay over $600 per calendar year will receive a 1099-MISC from CNMI. This is a requirement by the Internal Revenue Service.  This information should be recorded on the 1099-MISC on your tax returns.  You should contact a tax consultant to confirm how these are handled.  We cannot provide tax guidance.  Please contact your tax preparer for help.

CNM does offer a Tax Help service. Please click here for more information.