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APS Board Candidates Square Off During Forum

Posted September 25, 2023, 7:20 PM. Updated June 29, 2024, 1:58 PM.

Recording of forum available on Board of Education's YouTube page.

Candidates seeking to represent their district on the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education faced off Monday evening during a two-hour forum.

About 100 spectators packed the board room and spilled into an overflow room to hear the candidates, while more than 100 others watched online. Anyone who missed the forum can still watch it on the APS Board of Education YouTube channel.

Early voting begins on Oct. 10, and Election Day is Nov. 7. Successful candidates begin their four-year terms on Jan. 1.

The three board positions on the ballot this year are in Districts 1, 2, and 4.

  • Janelle Jaime Astorga, Verlando O. Coker, and Robert T. Trujillo are vying for the District 1 position. Board President Yolanda Montoya-Cordova, who currently holds the seat, is not seeking reelection.
  • In District 2, incumbent Peggy Muller-Aragón is running against Adrian R. Nogales and Ronalda K. Tome.
  • Vying for the District 4 spot are Heather R. Benavidez and Stephen J. Cecco. The position is currently held by board member Barbara Petersen who isn’t seeking another term.

All eight candidates participated in Monday night’s forum and responded to a dozen questions posed by moderator Angelo Gonzales, executive director of the Southwest Institute for Transformational Community Schools.

The questions touched on everything from the qualities they would look for in a new superintendent to their position on consolidating or closing schools given the district’s recent enrollment drops and rising capital costs. Among the other topics candidates addressed were school safety, the district’s new five-year strategic plan, and the Yazzie-Martinez ruling, which held that New Mexico schools aren’t providing a sufficient education to Native Americans, English learners, socioeconomically disadvantaged children, and students with disabilities.

Voters can also brush up on candidate backgrounds and their positions on a variety of issues by reading Q&As posted at Information on districts, voter registration, polling locations, the candidates, and more is available at the Board of Education election web page.

Two-mill Levy

Also on the Nov. 7 ballot will be a two-mill levy that would continue funding for maintenance throughout the district without raising the tax rate.

The mill levy would be a continuation of a tax already in place, not a new one.

The two-mill capital improvement tax measure would continue a property tax of $2 per each 1,000 of net taxable value for property within the APS district. The tax rate would remain the same.

Revenue from the two-mill levy helps pay for such things as maintenance, security, operations, technology, and musical instruments. If approved, the tax will provide capital revenue for the district through 2030.