APS school board members respond to governor’s criticism


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state’s largest school district is facing criticism by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham after the APS school board voted this week to stick with remote learning.
One school board member says the governor’s comments are a call to action, while the board president stands by the decision to stay online. “I am very disappointed about the decision, we wouldn’t have negotiated with the unions about what was required to make students and educators as safe as possible,” Lujan Grisham says.

Wednesday night the board voted to stick with distance learning until conditions improve. Friday, the governor voiced her disappointment in the district. “Kiddos want to go back to school, parents want to go back to school, and this is the safest model,” the governor says.

News 13 reached out to the school board, to get their reaction to the governor’s criticism. School Board President Dr.David Peercy said in a statement Saturday that the district is ready for all of the safety-related logistics, but that educational logistics are still a challenge. He says they appreciate the governor’s concerns and will continue to work toward a solution that supports her preferences.

We also heard back from board member Peggy Muller-Aragón, who has been in favor of the hybrid model. In a statement, she said in light of the governor’s comments, she thinks the board should have an emergency meeting to revisit the decision.

Dr. Peercy says the return to school would not qualify as an emergency topic. But a special meeting could be called to discuss the matter further. Dr. Peercy also says the board believes athletics should be decoupled from the hybrid model.

Read his full statement below:

Jan 26 the Governor made a surprise announcement that negated our approved plan based on science-informed criteria. She said our return approach was the board’s decision.

We had about a week to come up with a plan that adjusted to different requirements. We needed more information after our first board meeting. The administration did a great job working on options. The board felt continuing virtual till the community virus improved a little was a best choice for now.

Community virus is doing much better and we are still working on getting back to hybrid if the community virus conditions get just a little better – we are hopeful soon. We don’t disagree with and support the Governor’s desire to return to in-school. Might disagree on the total educational value for our students of the hybrid approach for the short time left in the semester. There are other benefits that we recognize.

This is not really about safety as much as it is about educational value of such a change now. We believe our employees should have priority for vaccines based on the educational environment in which they work. We believe athletics should be decoupled from the hybrid model.

We greatly appreciate the Governor’s concerns and will continue to work toward a solution that supports her preferences.

Dr. David Peercy

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