Tuesday, 19 February 2019 18:38

Bullying underway – and it’s not on the playground

Recently the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) had a $900 million mill levy and bond package defeated.  Voters were clear they love our kids and respect our teachers. They do not, however, feel APS has been a good steward of their tax money. 

We hoped that APS understood that message, but we don’t see evidence they do. 

APS board member Lorenzo Garcia said the election results were a ‘taxpayer revolt’ based on misinformation.  It is clear that New Mexicans don’t want higher taxes right now and we hope legislators are paying attention.  The truth of the matter is that voters had more accurate information in this election than in many previous elections. That information was sadly not provided by APS, but by those who worked diligently to find the facts that voters deserve to have. 

Unfortunately, APS is now threatening our teachers with their pay. Scott Elder, APS Chief Operations Officer, in an ABQ Journal article on 2/12/19 discussed the impact of the defeated measures and said, “We are going to have to dip into operational to maintain what we have to maintain and that has an impact on salaries”.

Here’s part of what caused the taxpayer ‘revolt’. Teacher pay doesn’t come from the money recently withheld by voters.  In fact, that’s part of the reason voters overwhelmingly denied you access to their hard earned money in the form of higher property taxes. They are tired of funding your mismanagement of their funds.

You’ve put pressure on families regarding their children and the facilities in which they will be taught.  David Peercy, APS board president, said that voters need to see the ripple effects of the election results.  “We told (the voters) we needed these funds to do the job.  We cannot do the job now. Period.”

Is that the job of continuing to overbuild and overspend taxpayer monies?  Elder said that APS needs about $15 million per year to maintain current facilities. Then why on that single issue did you ask taxpayers for $31.7 million. One can see why people don’t trust APS and are fatigued by the ever increasing amounts of money they are demanding.

APS said they will have to ‘freeze spending’ on repairs will likely have to take a funding question before voters again.   Has APS considered stopping their empire building for the good of the students?  Are they re-evaluating the Montgomery Plaza construction and the fact that it is not needed?