Albuquerque voters shake up APS board with new members and resolution
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Three new members are joining the Albuquerque Public School Board, and a new resolution is also going to bring in more money for the state’s largest school district.
“There’s just a lot of great things to learn from each other and celebrate,” said APS Chief Operations Officer Dr. Gabriella Blakey.
Blakey says APS is excited to start working with the new school board.
On Tuesday, the community chose three new members: Janelle Astorga for District 1, Ronalda Tome-Warito in District 2, and Heather Benavidez for District 4.
Astorga will replace Yolanda Montoya-Cordova who did not seek reelection. Tome-Warito beat out incumbent Peggy Muller-Aragón who was seeking a third term. Benavidez beat Stephen Cecco with more than 84% of the votes.
“I think that this is a unique time, because they have- I believe it’s the youngest board member to ever serve on an APS board, as well as the first Native American to serve on the APS board, as well as an all-female board,” said Blakey.
Ellen Bernstein with the Albuquerque Teachers Federation says the organization endorsed Benavidez and Tome-Warito.
“These are candidates who are committed to APS being the best place to go to school, the best place to work. We are confident that we’ll have board members who are supportive and respectful, and I think in the long run that helps us retain people,” said Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.
One of the first things these new board members will do is pick a new superintendent as superintendent Scott Elder is leaving at the end of the school year.
“It’s really important that the three newly-elected board members insert themselves into the process that’s already starting, so that they can learn about what the community is looking for in terms of a new superintendent, because they’re going to be hiring that person right as they start in January,” said Bernstein.
The new candidates will begin their new terms Jan. 1.
During the election, 67% of the community also voted to approve the APS’ Mill Levy. It’s a tax extension that will generate about $265 million for APS over the next six years.
That money will go towards maintaining schools like fixing the heating and cooling in some buildings.