BY SHARON SEITZ
This past spring, I urged our school board to make minimal changes (link1 link2) to the elementary, and no changes to our middle school and high school, calendar in order to comply with HB 130 legislation. I recommended more community engagement, with fair and balanced representation. As I wrote after our school board’s 4-1 vote for Calendar C, I was extremely disappointed that our elected school board members decided to ignore the majority of survey responses and comments from parents, students, and teachers.
It is clear that we must elect school board members who take community input seriously when making decisions. I am thankful for Sondra Wyman, who heard and listened to the voices and concerns of the majority of the parents, teachers and students on this issue and voted for Calendar A, who will once again represent District 5.
I have serious doubts about the other board members who voted to change our academic calendar in the most hasty and irresponsible way possible. Incumbent school board member Christine Bernstein promised to make student and teacher’s voices “a top priority in strategic planning and change.” Yet Christine voted for the calendar that was least supported by her constituents. When confronted with the question of LANL employees not having enough PTO (paid time off) for the new school breaks, she touted free daycare as the answer. Parents want their children to enjoy their summer and learn during the school year. Christine should not be re-elected. Lauren Coupland, who is also running for District 3 school board, served on the school calendar committee; however, she has not stated exactly which calendar she supported and why. I am worried that she will vote for more disruption and change to our school calendar.
Sean Stanfield, a better candidate for District 3, has stated that if he had been on the school board, he would have voted for the calendar with the most community support. Sean has displayed an impressive level of commitment and involvement in his children’s academic work and extracurricular activities at LAPS for many years. Sean has great ideas to better support our teachers and improve mental health for our most vulnerable children. We need someone like Sean, who values open and honest discussions and community input. The issue of the school calendar is very important to me, as it has a direct impact on our daily activities and family life. A vote for Sean is a vote for our kids.