This story is a staff report from The Paper.

The Paper. asks the candidates to explain why they are running for office and explain solutions to issues in our city in their own words. We have included their full responses, with very little editing. To find your APS district visit aps.edu

The Paper.: Please introduce yourself.

Josefina “Josie” Dominguez: My name is Josefina “Josie” Dominguez. I’m a retired English and Spanish classroom teacher with 28 years experience in 7 different districts, 22 years in New Mexico. I taught a wide range of students in various programs from honors English to Developmental English. I understand the complexities of how the district operates and how every department plays a vital role. I’m also the parent of two successful APS graduates and the grandparent of two APS students.

Art Carrasco: I am running for only one reason, to fix APS finances. Currently APS has a $45-million deficit. APS’s entire budget and finances need to be reviewed and analyzed. I would have a plan in place at the end of 30 days to eliminate the 45-million-dollar loss, and to ensure that all APS budgets are available for public review. The superintendent needs to be given goals, objectives and plans with deadlines. He needs to be held accountable for performance.

Celia Cortez: As a native of NM, I am concerned not only with the student outcomes but with the waste and fraud of our education funds. I will bring to the board a different problem solving style, coming from the private sector in highly competitive and budget driven industries. We must ensure our children succeed in education and we must ensure all monies are directed where they will impact educational outcomes—in the classroom.

If a vaccine is approved for school-aged children, do you think Albuquerque Public Schools should require proof of vaccination for students to go to school? Why or why not?

Dominguez: When a Covid vaccine is approved for school-age children, it should be treated as part of any immunization requirement that already exists. Immunization requirements exist to keep students, staff, and community safe.

Carrasco: Parents and care givers must be given the choice. That is why we live in America. APS must do whatever it takes to keep children in the classroom in front of a teacher. If APS must require vaccinations to keep children in school, then families still have the choice.

Cortez: It depends on what vaccines are being required. There are many vaccines that are FDA approved for children, but many parents choose to not vaccinate their children. A careful look at the prevalence and severity of a disease and possible side-effects of a vaccine must be weighed by each student/parent and their doctor. These are medical decisions that are personal and private.

Should Albuquerque Public Schools have its own police department?

Dominguez: The Albuquerque Public Schools Police Department already exists and helps maintain a safe and secure educational climate for all students and staff members. They train campus security aides. Neither should be involved in disciplining students. It was a campus security aide who disarmed the young man involved in the tragic shooting death of a classmate at a middle school in August. They play an important role in maintaining safe schools, so far.

Carrasco: APS does not need its own police department. APS needs to focus on each student’s needs to provide a positive educational experience where students want to graduate.

Cortez: No.

How should APS teach students about New Mexico’s diverse cultural history and its legacies of colonization, discrimination, and inequity?

Dominguez: The most effective way to teach students about New Mexico’s complex and diverse history is by hiring more minority teachers in core subjects who understand and have lived that history. The professionals hiring those minority staff must also come with that perspective and experience. We need this diversity at all school sites, in middle-management, and in top level management positions. Additionally, professional development must always include this gendered, cultural, socio-economic lens.

Carrasco: New Mexico has a rich diverse history. Just like any history, it should be explained based on facts.

Cortez: Teaching of all history, whether it’s NM, US or world history, must be taught based on facts. The facts can allow a child to make their own determinations. There has been colonization, discrimination and inequity from the dawn of time and still continues today. Every continent, every race and every culture has all of these aspects as part of their history. Teaching of history should not highlight one races faults, no one is without fault.

Bernalillo County Democratic Ward 17B is holding a forum for all candidates via Zoom on October 10 between 2 and 3:30 pm.  Participants will be invited to ask their own questions in addition to those we have prepared.  The Zoom link for the events is  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6UgWEiBuQyqdQepCgTqj0w

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This story is a staff report from The Paper.