Bernalillo County Local Election Information

The Bernalillo County local election will be held on November 5th. Click HERE to read the Bernalillo County’s “Key Messages” of the election.

The NMBC has information regarding all the ballot questions that will be asked in the election, as well as answers on key school board issues from the Albuquerque Public Schools board candidates who are up for election.

If you find this information useful, please consider making a contribution to the NMBC! We are a grassroots organization and we value each and every person who supports our vision for New Mexico.

Ballot Questions

This election, there are three resolutions from the City of Albuquerque up for vote, including the controversial Democracy Dollars initiative; a mill levy tax from the Valencia Soil & Water Conservation District; and some questions regarding public school funding. All the ballot questions involve tax rates, but only the Valencia Soil & Water mill levy will raise taxes if passed.

NOTE:  There has been a history in our state of fraud, waste and abuse in government and the only way to stop it is to stop the flow of taxpayer money to fund it. We understand that bond issues provide for improvement of facilities and often provide jobs; however, we stand firmly against further expansion of underused and unused libraries and educational facilities in times of declining student enrollment. NMBC is not against using tax dollars for maintenance, repairs and upkeep of facilities and schools.  However, NMBC encourages voters to be cautious of language that allows more money to be spent to, “… plan, design, develop, and acquire property…” which leads to more and more land being bought and buildings being built that we don’t need.

If you’ve also seen the Sandoval County ballot questions and recognize some of the questions here from there, it is because some of these school districts fall within both counties, so the questions make an appearance on some ballots in both counties.

City of Albuquerque

R-160: Transportation Tax

Shall the City of Albuquerque renew a 0.25% (one-quarter of one percent) gross receipts tax which shall be dedicated specifically and only for the following uses:

  • not less than 57% for road infrastructure improvements, including Americans with Disabilities Act improvements,
  • 5% for trails and bikeways,
  • 38% for transit

This is a renewal of an existing tax. If passed the tax rate will not increase; if it fails the tax rate would decrease when the original tax sunsets in June 2020.  NOTE: There is no sunset (end date) on this ‘continuation’ tax like there was on the previous tax.  That means if approved, this tax will go on forever.

R-165: Open and Ethical Elections Code Update Proposition (Labled Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 on the ballot.)

Proposition 1: Shall the City of Albuquerque adopt the following amendments to update the language of the Open and Ethical Elections Code, which provides for public financing of City candidates:

  • clarify the use of in-kind contributions (good or service other than money, having monetary value not to exceed more than $2,500),
  • increase how much seed money a candidate can collect from $1.00 per registered City voter to $1.75 per registered City voter,
  • provide definitions for “election-cycle” and “candidate,”
  • require candidates to follow public financing contribution limits for one year before asking for public funds,
  • increase funds for publicly financed mayoral candidates to $0.60 from $0.30 per registered City voter and set a minimum distribution of $13,200 for council candidates in districts with fewer than 40,000 registered voters,
  • enforce City Clerk’s administrative rules,
  • and allow the City Council to amend the Code by ordinance with a vote of a majority plus two of the entire membership of the Council?

NOTE:  Supporters of the above proposition point out that passing it will not increase the current tax rate that is used to fund candidates who qualify.  However, the analysis that NMBC and others have done indicates the increased amounts paid to candidates if this proposition passes will not be sustainable under the current tax rate.  An increase in taxes will be required at some point if this passes.

NOTE:  The following Democracy Dollars proposition, has faced significant controversy.  NMBC strongly objects to the ambiguous wording found in the proposition about who is eligible for the Democracy Dollars and we express concern that the current fund allocated to pay for the measure will not be sufficient without a tax raise.  Read more about why voters should beware of these propositions HERE.

Proposition 2: Shall the City of Albuquerque adopt the following amendments to update the language of the Open and Ethical Elections Code, which provides for public financing of City candidates:

  • provide eligible city residents (this is the ambiguous wording we are concerned about; “eligible” is never explicitly defined) with Democracy Dollars to contribute to their choice of qualified candidates, which the candidates could redeem with the City Clerk, up to a limit, for funds to spend in support of their campaigns, as directed by the City Council;
  • and increase the funds for publicly financed mayoral candidates to $1.75 from $1.00 per registered City voter?

R-180: General Obligation Bonds Questions

These do NOT increase the City’s current tax rate for General Obligation debt service based on the City’s projected assessed value.

Public safety bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $8,590,000 of its general obligation bonds to plan, design, develop, study, construct, and otherwise improve, and to acquire land, buildings, property, vehicles, apparatuses, and equipment for police and fire department facilities?

Community enhancement bonds question:  Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $21,705,000 of its general obligation bonds to plan, design, develop, construct, and otherwise improve, and to acquire property for city-owned community centers including those for families, youth, senior citizens, the homeless, and for other community enhancement projects? NOTE: This is a land acquisition/construction question.

Parks and recreation bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $16,830,000 of its general obligation bonds to map, plan, design, develop, and otherwise improve, and to acquire property, vehicles, and equipment for park and recreation facilities, including public parks and facilities within those parks, other recreation facilities, open space, medians, bikeways, bosque lands, and trails?  NOTE: This is a land acquisition/construction question.

Public facilities bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $10,420,000 of its general obligation bonds to modernize, make energy- and/or water-efficient, upgrade, equip, and otherwise improve, and to acquire property, vehicles, and equipment for public buildings, facilities, and systems?  NOTE: This is a land acquisition/construction question.

Library bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $8,765,000 of its general obligation bonds to acquire property, study, plan, design, and otherwise improve, and to acquire books, media, and equipment for public libraries?  NOTE: This is a land acquisition/construction question.

Street bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $32,930,000 of its general obligation bonds to plan, design, develop, construct, and otherwise improve, and to acquire property and equipment for municipal streets and roads, interstate roadways and interchanges, medians, trails, bikeways, walkways, sidewalks, railroad crossings, and bridges?  NOTE: This is a land acquisition/construction question.

Public transportation bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $3,130,000 of its general obligation bonds to plan, design, develop, construct, and otherwise improve, and to acquire property, vehicles, and equipment for public transportation facilities?  NOTE: This is a land acquisition/construction question.

Storm sewer system bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $11,210,000 of its general obligation bonds to plan, design, develop, construct, and otherwise improve, and to acquire property and equipment for the storm sewer system?  NOTE: This is a land acquisition/construction question.

Cultural facilities bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $1,790,000 of its general obligation bonds to study, plan, design, develop, and otherwise improve, and to acquire artifacts, exhibits, furnishings, and equipment for City-owned museums and cultural facilities?

Affordable housing bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $5,050,000 of its general obligation bonds in support of the Workforce Housing Act to provide resources for the construction and rehabilitation of high-quality, permanently affordable housing for low- to moderate-income working families, including affordable senior rental?

Metropolitan redevelopment bonds question: Shall the City of Albuquerque issue $8,080,000 of its general obligation bonds to plan, design, study, construct, and otherwise improve non-right-of-way and right-of-way land, property, facilities, or infrastructure owned by the City of Albuquerque for Metropolitan Redevelopment Projects within adopted Metropolitan Redevelopment Areas in order to implement the objectives of the New Mexico Metropolitan Redevelopment Code?

Valencia Soil & Water Conservation District

VOTER BEWARE – Mill Levy Rate Resolution No. 5

Shall the Valencia Soil & Water Conservation District establish a mill levy at the rate of $1.00 per $1,000 of the assessed value of real property within the District for the 2020 tax year, with the purpose of funding the conservation efforts of the district? 

NOTE: This mil levy sought by the VSWCD is a tax increase from .25 mil to a 1 mil and will never sunset–it will be permanent!  If you are a property owner in Valencia County and this resolution passes, you will pay it forever.  To top that off, the current .25 mill will not sunset/end until 2022.  The VSWCD Board would need to take action to end the existing .25 mill tax. 

NOTE: All of the below initiatives, if passed, will not raise taxes – and in most cases and if they fail taxes will go down.  No education salaries will be paid with these funds.

Rio Rancho Public Schools

APS spends $2,467 per student on education, whereas RRPS only spends $1,061 per student.

General Obligation Bond Question

Shall the RRPS Board of Education be authorized to issue general obligation bonds totaling no more than $60,000,000 for the purpose of erecting, remodeling, making additions to and furnishing school buildings; purchasing or improving school grounds; purchasing computer software and hardware for student use in public schools; providing matching funds for capital outlay projects funded pursuant to the Public School Capital Outlay Act (which attempts to ensure that all public schools, regardless of size, are adequate and support learning by making it easier to secure funding in less affluent areas); or any combination of these purposes? Said bonds will be payable from general (ad valorem) taxes and be issued and sold at such times and upon such terms as determined by the Board.

Albuquerque Municipal School District No. 12 (APS)

APS spends $2,467 per student on education, whereas RRPS only spends $1,061 per student.

APS Capital Improvements Tax

Shall APS continue to impose a property tax of $2.00 per each $1,000 of net taxable value of property within the District for the property tax years 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 for the purpose of:

  • erecting, remodeling, furnishing, and equipping school buildings;
  • purchasing or improving school ground;
  • maintenance of school buildings or school grounds;
  • purchasing and installing education technology improvements?

APS General Obligation Bond

Shall APS, in both Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties, be authorized to issue up to $100,000,000 of general obligation bonds for the purpose of erecting, remodeling, equipping, and furnishing school buildings; purchasing or improving school grounds; purchasing computer software and hardware for student use in public schools; providing matching funds for capital outlay projects funded pursuant to the Public School Capital Outlay Act; or any combination of these purposes?

The above buildings are what APS has a history of doing with tax dollars rather than fixing heating/air conditioning, drinking water pipes and leaky roofs in classrooms.  These buildings are not ‘for the children.’  They are used for administrative purposes.

The school bond questions are always pushed as money that is needed for maintenance and repairs of existing schools.  Yet, the language of “purchasing school ground…erecting school buildings” that is in each bond proposition means that there’s a possibility (a likelihood, based on past performance) of more wasteful construction.

Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)

CNM General Obligation Bond

Shall CNM issue its general obligation bonds, in one or more series and in an amount not to exceed $84,000,000, for the purpose of any, all, or a combination of:

  • erecting, furnishing, constructing, purchasing, remodeling, and equipping buildings and utility facilities;
  • making other real property improvements;
  • purchasing grounds; and
  • purchasing and installing computer hardware and software?

Albuquerque City Council Candidates

These are the candidates running for Albuquerque City Council positions this election. At a recent public forum, the candidates gave their positions regarding policies such as mandated wages, government oversight of business (paid time off, work schedules, etc.), code enforcement/permits, level of taxation, use of tax-funded incentives to spur economic development, and the impact of homelessness and crime to businesses and the general public. Based on their answers and using our  guidelines found in annual priorities for state elected officials, NMBC gave each candidate a grade from A to F.

District 2

District 4

District 6

District 8

School Board Candidate Responses

We created a questionnaire for the candidates running for APS Board to determine their positions on key issues. Below are the responses we received from them.

NOTE: In general, NMBC believes that due to the inordinately poor performance of APS, it is time for voters to consider getting new board members.  The only exception to this is incumbent Peggy Muller-Aragon, who has consistently voted against the status quo and questioned the manner in which the APS Board operates as well as how it spends taxpayer money. Ms. Muller-Aragon has shown her priorities are for the children and teachers and using tax dollars wisely. She has been a lone voice to fix the problems in APS and deserves consideration to be retained as an APS Board member.

Albuquerque Public Schools

District 1

Madelyn Jones

505-319-6476 | madelynjones1940@gmail.com

 

1. What APS district are you running for?

District 1

2. As a School Board member, what will be your top priority?

Re-establish the authority of the school board.

3. When voting on an APS policy, what do you think is the most important thing to consider?

If it is a new policy, consider its pros and cons and cause and effect.

4. What experience do you have in creating budgets and what will you prioritize inthe APS budget?

Business owner for 45 years. The Board does not have input in the budget. They only sign off on the administration’s budget presented to the Board about 3 weeks before it has to be in Santa Fe.

5. Please provide your position on the APS Superintendent’s contract being tied to student outcomes and explain why you feel that way.

Again this is under the purvue of the union as it is set up. Student outcomes are not used.

6. What factors should play into a decision on closing a school?

Population feeding the school is at the top of the list. Resources shouldn’t be stretched so they become inefficient.

7. Should teachers be held accountable for students’ academic achievement or lack thereof? Why or why not?

Teachers have the most time with the students. But they don’t bear the total burden of academic achievement. If it is something that they can accomplish in the classroom environment great. If it has to go to other professionals , they also have responsibility.

8. Please provide your position regarding the Little Davis Bacon Act.

I do not know the details of the Act but if I am elected I will make it a priority to study the details. What I have been told, it appears it cost us a great deal of money for very little benefit.

9. How should the Capital Master Plan reflect the continuing decline of APS enrollment?

Master Plans seem to have a life of their own not only schools but the city etc. It should be more flexible and reviewed constantly to keep it viable. You have to be willing to make changes as circumstances present themselves.

10. As an APS Board member, please explain your position in regards to involving business community members in advising how best to prepare students for future careers.

My business experience has shown me that educators play a game. They pretend to involve other people and ideas, but in reality they have no intention of implementing them unless it coincides with their agenda. Should it make a difference in better results if implemented? Yes.

11. Please provide details of any arrest record you may have.

None

Yolanda Montoya-Cordova (incumbent)

505-264-4113 | yolanda.cordova@aps.edu

 

1. What APS district are you running for?

District 1

2. As a School Board member, what will be your top priority?

Academic rigor to increase student performance and readiness for college and career

3. When voting on an APS policy, what do you think is the most important thing to consider?

The impact to the classroom and students

4. What experience do you have in creating budgets and what will you prioritize inthe APS budget?

25+ years in public administration that includes fiscal management for federal/state grants. Current budget managed is $50 million. Priorities for the APS budget includes funding for teachers, schools and facilities. My district has some of the oldest facilities and the majority of concerns from parents in District 1 are focused on health and safety of buildings.

5. Please provide your position on the APS Superintendent’s contract being tied to student outcomes and explain why you feel that way.

The key performance indicators tied to the Superintendent’s contract include graduation rates, student performance in reading and math and parent satisfaction. I believe these are important and will continue to advocate for using data driven outcomes to assure we are meeting/exceeding expectations. We are experiencing steady improvements – graduation rates have improved.

6. What factors should play into a decision on closing a school?

School closure should not be a primary focus when a school is in trouble. Instead, attention must be given to turn around strategies that include additional resources, tools and funding. A goal is to maintain the “neighborhood” school for the community and to work in partnership with local organizations, including the business community, to create conditions that lead to success.

7. Should teachers be held accountable for students’ academic achievement or lack thereof? Why or why not?

I believe teachers do hold themselves accountable for academic achievement. My late husband was a teacher for 25 years at Highland HS and his primary concern and focus was his students and their overall success. He knew who was doing well and who was failing. Student achievement is the reason teachers teach. Accountability should be addressed by reviewing a variety of tools but should not simply rely on a standardized test – I do not support one test, one score to rate performance for teachers or students. It’s more complex and accountability should reflect all the interventions, strategies and tools and resources used to educate our children.

8. Please provide your position regarding the Little Davis Bacon Act.

I support the Little Davis Bacon Act. It is important to set prevailing wages on public works contracts as a way to ensure equity in wages for the employees. Public Works funds require additional oversight to ensure taxpayer investments include highest of quality in craftsmanship but also assure fairness and equity in wages. As a taxpayer I expect our public works projects to reflect these values.

9. How should the Capital Master Plan reflect the continuing decline of APS enrollment?

The Capital Master Plan is focused on needs of the district. Currently, maintenance and repair of aging infrastructure is a high priority and new construction is being limited to seriously compromised infrastructure. For example, Rio Grande HS built in 1958 has a gym that is very outdated. A new facility is necessary to assure health/safety of the students, but also necessary to assure full compliance with Title IX. Although the enrollment as RGHS has declined, there remains a need for this school and a full functioning gym is not optional. Another example, the decision to add bus depots also reflects the best interests of students, staff and the community – not only will the district save $$ on fuel and bus wear and tear; we will improve transport efficiency and reduce our carbon emission footprint. Finally, although we are seeing reductions in enrollment, the need for safe transportation, healthy and safe buildings, and access to state of the art technology does diminish the responsibility of the district. Every student matters. As a board member I will assure that our capital master plan reflects ongoing need for students and will always advocate for improvements that create safe and healthy learning spaces.

10. As an APS Board member, please explain your position in regards to involving business community members in advising how best to prepare students for future careers.

Engagement with the business community is an area that excites me the most. Our business community is an important partner to develop and implement career pathways and work-based learning opportunities for our middle and high school youth. Business leaders know the important skills and knowledge required for work, understand the shifts in the labor market and can and should inform how in-demand occupations will shift as the economy of New Mexico grows. The District needs a strong partnership with the business community to exchange ideas, resources, technology and tools necessary to transform our classrooms and schools to learning spaces that prepare our students for real jobs. Linking business partners to support classroom learning, career exploration, internships, job mentorship and work-based learning opportunities is key. I appreciate the business partners currently engaged with APS and look forward to increasing these partnerships as a new economy for New Mexico unfolds.

11. Please provide details of any arrest record you may have.

None

District 2

Laurie Harris

505-379-5891 | mrsharrisabq@gmail.com

 

1. What APS district are you running for?

District 2

2. As a School Board member, what will be your top priority?

I will work with the board and use my experience to improve education for all students in APS.

3. When voting on an APS policy, what do you think is the most important thing to consider?

I will always consider what is best for students and their families.

4. What experience do you have in creating budgets and what will you prioritize inthe APS budget?

I have served on Instructional Councils at the schools I’ve worked in. I also served as the Treasurer for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation. My experience in CTE education will make me an advocate for expanding these opportunities for our secondary students.

5. Please provide your position on the APS Superintendent’s contract being tied to student outcomes and explain why you feel that way.

In the past when Superintendent’s were tied to outcomes there was a year when then Superintendent received a raise but teachers did not. This caused lots of resentment among educators who had worked directly with students. I believe the Superintendent should be working to improved education and not be only concerned with test scores.

6. What factors should play into a decision on closing a school?

All children in our city deserve a quality public neighborhood school. When a school struggles, it should be the administrations job to provide support to improve. Low enrollment that isn’t feasible to operate would be my only reason to support closing one of our neighborhood schools. However, a charter school that doesn’t meet the standards of public schools would be a different problem. Factors in a charter school closing could be management of funds, student outcome, enrollment, or questionable policies.

7. Should teachers be held accountable for students’ academic achievement or lack thereof? Why or why not?

Teachers should never be evaluated based on test scores, especially special education teachers. There is never a level playing field for educators. Some teachers have students who will show achievement and others who will not. We don’t want to deter great teachers for choosing to work with populations of struggling students.

8. Please provide your position regarding the Little Davis Bacon Act.

Spending my last 26 years in education, I haven’t developed a strong opinion on this 1931 law.

9. How should the Capital Master Plan reflect the continuing decline of APS enrollment?

Living on the west side, where enrollment continues to increase, I have seen overcrowded schools and classrooms since I moved here 22 years ago.

10. As an APS Board member, please explain your position in regards to involving business community members in advising how best to prepare students for future careers.

It is always helpful to partner with our community. I’ve recently worked with Sandia Labs to start a Cybersecurity team at Jefferson Middle School. I would like to see more programs like this one in our district.

11. Please provide details of any arrest record you may have.

None

Peggy Muller-Aragón (incumbent)

505-907-1133 | peggy.mulleraragon@aps.edu

 

1. What APS district are you running for?

District 2

2. As a School Board member, what will be your top priority?

Every school board member should have as their top priority serving the best interest of the students & affirm that student outcomes will come before any adult interest.

3. When voting on an APS policy, what do you think is the most important thing to consider?

The only consideration should be the students, their parents and how said policy positively affects every student and their ability to achieve at the highest academic levels.

4. What experience do you have in creating budgets and what will you prioritize inthe APS budget?

As chair of the board’s finance committee, I have been intimately involved in providing input into the budget blueprint. My priority is the children, but once the six figure club gets their hands on the proposed budget it often takes a different turn away from the classroom & the childrens’ best interest, which should be the priority.

5. Please provide your position on the APS Superintendent’s contract being tied to student outcomes and explain why you feel that way.

It’s appalling that Raquel’s contract isn’t tied to student outcomes, which should be paramount in a contract valued in excess of $300,000. Children are not the centerpiece of her contract, and until they are, I will continue voting NO on its approval. (See my Journal OpEd dated 7-22-19 for more)

6. What factors should play into a decision on closing a school?

    • Capacity of the building vs the actual enrollment
    • needs of the school community
    • actual cost of operating a low enrollment school
    • children’s safety

7. Should teachers be held accountable for students’ academic achievement or lack thereof? Why or why not?

YES, end of discussion. The only job teachers have is providing an academic education to our future workforce, so what else can we honestly measure teachers by, if not student outcomes? To be clear, academic achievement cannot be measured solely by one test, but rather by where a child started the year academically and where they ended(academic growth).

8. Please provide your position regarding the Little Davis Bacon Act.

The Little Davis Bacon Act must be repealed. At the minimum, all public school capital projects should be exempted from the student/taxpayer ripoff, that is, Little Bacon Davis. Repeal of Little Bacon Davis will benefit our children, parents and taxpayers.

9. How should the Capital Master Plan reflect the continuing decline of APS enrollment?

The APS Capital Master Plan must continually be reprioritized based on actual student enrollment numbers, enrollment trends and the student/community best interest.

10. As an APS Board member, please explain your position in regards to involving business community members in advising how best to prepare students for future careers.

The business community should be included in the development of curriculum, internships and apprenticeships that meet student, parent and business needs. Alongside the business community, APS can strategically develop schools that reflect the economic needs of a local and state community.

11. Please provide details of any arrest record you may have.

None

Sergio Trujillo

 

Sergio did not respond to our attempts to contact him.

District 4

Laura Carlson

lauraw723@gmail.com

 

Laura did not respond to the questionnaire.

Verland Coker

Facebook page | citizensforverlandcoker@gmail.com

 

Verland did not respond to the questionnaire.

Barbara Peterson (incumbent)

505-401-4134 | petersen_b@aps.edu

 

1. What APS district are you running for?

District 4

2. As a School Board member, what will be your top priority?

Ensuring that all students have access to the educational opportunities they deserve.

3. When voting on an APS policy, what do you think is the most important thing to consider?

How will the policy affect students? Will it further the goals of supporting students for success, expanding opportunities and equity.

4. What experience do you have in creating budgets and what will you prioritize inthe APS budget?

I have been through four budget cycles, including a year when $37 million was cut mid-year. Classrooms will always come first in priority.

5. Please provide your position on the APS Superintendent’s contract being tied to student outcomes and explain why you feel that way.

The APS Academic Master Plan, developed with a great deal of community input, is our vision for students. The superintendent must organize and lead the district to carry out the plan.

6. What factors should play into a decision on closing a school?

Traditional schools are the centers of our communities. Over the years, the demographics cycle so that size fluctuates, but they are an investment in the community. Better than closing, making wise choices for programs can let the district utilize that investment wisely.

7. Should teachers be held accountable for students’ academic achievement or lack thereof? Why or why not?

Teachers are accountable and strong teachers are essential, but the use of test scores is not valid, with too many factors out of an individual teacher’s control. Observation is more fair and reliable, leading to better practice.

8. Please provide your position regarding the Little Davis Bacon Act.

It is essential. 58% of children live in poverty. To depress wages even more not only negatively affect families, but would discourage our goal of expanding CTE opportunities.

9. How should the Capital Master Plan reflect the continuing decline of APS enrollment?

The district has had to address the growth on the Westside, but we also have the responsibility of maintaining and providing appropriate learning environments to student in older areas. The CMT is a plan for the decades, not year by year.

10. As an APS Board member, please explain your position in regards to involving business community members in advising how best to prepare students for future careers.

The district certainly welcomes partnerships with the business community. Some of the strongest are at the school level through our Community School Councils.

11. Please provide details of any arrest record you may have.

None

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