ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In just 24 hours, polls will open for school board elections in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. Nearly 20 candidates are vying for a seat on the Albuquerque Public Schools school board.
For District 3, covering the North Valley and Downtown, incumbent Lorenzo Garcia is currently Vice President. He’s going up against four others including Amy Ennenga.
Ennenga has worked as a teacher at APS and as a paralegal before that. Ennenga says the budget needs to be redistributed to where it should be going like to teachers and students. Amy Legant also served as a teacher and as a principal. Legant says she would propose that each school and or department determine for themselves what gets cut. Both Legant and Ennenga believe that the PARCC testing is not working for the district.
Also in the running are Charles White and Kathleen Chavez. Both White and Chavez have served as teachers. White says the district must work with the state to come up with a different test other than PARCC. Both are in favor of increased transparency of the school board. Chavez says, if elected, she would become familiar with the issues of particular importance to each board member to assist with her own.
As for District 5, representing the west mesa, four candidates are running.
Racheal Gonzales, a former APS employee, believes the Board of Education should be a voice for students and teachers.
Candelaria Patterson is a longtime community advocate. She says she will work collaboratively with the board to hire the next superintendent and provide opportunities for student and teacher success.
Kayla Marshall works in accounting and HR. She believes better contracts that don’t offer “golden parachutes” need to be written for superintendents.
Annie Sarah Bell Rahman, a community activist and former teacher, believes she will bring a unique perspective to current policies.
District 6 covers the Northeast Heights and East Mountains.
Abbas Akhil, a retired energy consultant, believes budget cuts need to be communicated to residents in collaboration with the superintendent.
Elizabeth Armijo, a small business owner, says the biggest challenge APS has is funding and that the district needs to retain the best teachers and make sure they feel valued.
Both Douglas Brown and Melissa Finch are against PARCC testing, especially how it is used for the students and the teachers administering it. Brown says the common core curriculum is not educating our kids effectively. Finch says she’s against how the testing affects the teachers’ evaluations.
Paula Maes, President and CEO of the New Mexico Broadcaster’s Association, believes that APS needs to regain the trust of the community. She also believes the PARCC testing is not a good evaluation of students or the schools.
Paul Sievert, a retired teacher, says the district needs to focus on student performance, limited funds and teacher retention.
As for District 7 in the far Northeast Heights, incumbent David Peercy believes the weight of the PARCC assessment has to be reduced significantly in all areas.
Ian Burch, a game developer, thinks frequent meetings and discussions with the superintendent are crucial to get the needs of district met.
Both William Steinberg and Brian Tierney want to eliminate the national program Common Core to restore local control. Steinberg also says the board needs to reevaluate how superintendents are selected. Tierney says he would also like to establish fiscal transparency of the APS budget and bureaucracy.