Update 11/01/19, 11am: Please note: The League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico wishes to apologize to Albuquerque School Board candidate Laurie Harris. We inadvertently omitted her answers, which were received in a timely manner, from our printed Voter Guide. Please see the online Voter Guide for access to her information.
In this election, Board members will be chosen in Districts 1, 2, and 4.
Albuquerque Public Schools is governed by seven board members who set policy and oversee the budget. APS has nearly 84,000 students in 143 schools. Board members serve four year terms. They are paid a per diem amount of $85. per meeting. Election for District 1, 2 and 4 members occur in 2019.
Yolanda M. Cordova
What qualified you to be an APS Board Member? I am a 4th generation resident of the South Valley and have a lived experience that remains relevant to the current experience of residents in my community. As a public administrator for more than 25 years, working experience in finance and budgeting, public policy, program evaluation, performance monitoring and reporting equips me with the knowledge necessary to lead governance of the district.
What actions should APS take to increase parental involvement in schools? Parental engagement will occur when campuses are open and inviting. We need to assure schools are meeting language and cultural needs of parents and that authentic opportunities for equal partnership to inform planning, implementation and evaluation are practiced. Parents must be valued for their perspective and we must trust and believe they can and should have leadership roles/responsibilities to promote programs and ideas forward.
What are the specific needs of your district and how would you discuss them? The needs of the schools in District 1 are related to poor attendance, performance gaps and aging infrastructure. Programs such as extended day learning, early childhood and community schools have demonstrated success and I will advocate for expansion. I will also strongly advocate for investments in new facilities, equipment and information technology to assure classrooms are safe and clean. Place matters and school buildings must be adequate.
What should APS do to increase voter support for the bond issue? Voter support for the bond issue is critical this year. APS must let voters know we understand they do not want to see increases in taxes at this time; however, continuation of the bond/levy packages is necessary to maintain safety and replace facilities. Without the bond/levy package, children and community will suffer. The time is now – all our children deserve quality facilities.
Madelyn A. Jones
No reply received
Lauretta J. Harris
1. What qualifies you to be an APS board member? As a parent, grandparent, and retired educator I want to see students grow and thrive in our public schools. I’ve spent 26 years teaching math and technology, mostly to middle school kids. I was active in fighting over-testing with the PARCC test and I would like to see respect for educators return to our community.
2. What actions should APS take to increase parental involvement in schools? Communication is always a place to start to increase parental involvement. I would like to support our schools do a better job with their digital resources. Community Schools have shown high levels of parental involvement, so I would like to make this a feasible and sustainable option for all schools.
3. What are the specific needs of your district and how would you discuss them? The west side of Albuquerque still battles overcrowding of its schools. In the 21 years I have lived in district 2, crowded classrooms and insane traffic been a constant problem and a safety hazard at our schools. Before and after school care is in great demand because m
4. What should APS do to increase support for bond issues? APS needs to have more forums and better communication to get out the message. Photos of sweltering children, leaky roofs, and crowded classrooms can help get the point across, but we will also need more community discussions to really explain the purpose of the bond money. Our kids are counting on us to pay our taxes to support their education.
Peggy L. Muller-Aragon
What qualifies you to be an APS Board Member? I am qualified because I am a parent, I attended schools in our community, I am a retired teacher and understand what good teaching and learning looks like. Qualified board members must have a conviction that the students’ best interest always comes first, that we should never be predisposed on any issue, that we are passionate and dedicated to quality education for ALL students.
What actions should APS take to increase parental involvement in schools? Our best information shows that community schools increase parental involvement. Community schools make the school the hub of the neighborhood and are able to draw in the parents, the community and its partners into the school. I am a community school supporter.
What are the specific needs of your district and how would you address them? Over the last four years, we have worked diligently to make the schools in my district some of the best in APS. However, there is still work to be done as many of our schools are overcrowded and our students lack choice by way of charter schools in our district.
What should APS do to increase voter support for bond issues? APS should be transparent with facts, honest with the taxpayers, and respectful of the voters.
Barbara E. Petersen
What qualifies you to be an APS Board Member? In 35 years of teaching, I cared deeply about my students, their learning, and my professional practice, and also the policies that impacted them. I’ve always been an active advocate for public schools. In my first term, I have chaired the Equity and Engagement and the Policy and Instruction Committees. In addition to having served four years, I have become an NMSBA Master Board Member.
What actions should APS take to increase parental involvement in schools? The personal relationship between teacher, school staff and the family is most essential. I strongly support restoring home visits for elementary schools, which builds a school/family bond. Community Schools, a growing practice, and parent representation on Instructional Councils, provide a deeper decision-making opportunity beyond traditional PTAs. Townhalls around the student handbook and Academic Master Plan provide a district-wide model that should become regular practice.
What are the specific needs of your district and how would you address them? District 4 is home to many indigenous residents of this continent, newcomer refugees from all continents, older, well-established neighborhoods, and economically struggling neighborhoods. We’re rich with diversity of cultures, languages, talents and experiences. Educationally, that means dual language programs, newcomer supports, programs that give academic support and respect each child. ALL students need art, music, engaging opportunities. Community Schools build on strengths and meet needs.
What should APS do to increase voter support for bond issues? APS must do an effective job of communicating, explaining, and clarifying. The Capital Outlay Master Plan is based on need. It is a model used by other districts for prioritizing need and removing politics. The capital money raised by bond and mill levy cannot be used for programs or salary. Older schools need investments in roofs, HVAC, plumbing. All schools need investments for children’s safety.
Laura W. Carlson
No reply received
Verland O. Coker
What qualifies you to be an APS Board Member? 1) I’ve spent the last 8 years analysing educational systems, understanding 21st century pedagogy, and researching innovative classroom environments. This expertise, in combination with my 10 years of experience as an APS student, makes me the most qualified candidate for school board. With a focus on students and teachers, I offer a holistic, progress oriented,and forward thinking view for APS.
What actions should APS take to increase parental involvement in schools? APS administration, teachers, and parents have trust issues with each other. Schools should be an environment of open communication and collaboration. We need better communication pipelines for parents, better support structures for teachers, and an administration that puts the students first. No one set of actions will guarantee improved parental involvement but working to improve school culture is the best first step.
What are the specific needs of your district and how would you address them? District 4 overlaps with many diverse neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are often home to many of our most vulnerable and underserved demographics. As a result, discussion of the specific student needs in the district must be trauma informed and focused on a both a growth mindset, and a “whole child” approach.
What should APS do to increase voter support for bond issues? At least for the last bond election, there was a prevailing atmosphere of distrust among voters. Not only were people wary of non teacher-focused increases, but there was also a view of APS as fiscally irresponsible. This in combination with negative PR and misinformation, lead to a resounding denial. Improvement here is about regaining trust and maintaining honesty and transparency.
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