Sara Attleson has been an educator in for 42 years and with the Albuquerque Public School System (APS) for 35 years.
Below is a guest column from Sarah Attleson solicited by this blog regarding the February 5, 2019 APS mail ballot initiative for funding for the refurbishment, remodeling and replacement of APS schools:
“Voting is currently underway for the Albuquerque Public Schools Special All-Mail Ballot Election for Mill Levies and Bond.
The Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF) has endorsed a YES vote for this election. The union knows that public education is the cornerstone of a democracy and it knows that the working conditions of teachers are their students’ learning conditions.
The Central Labor Council has also passed a motion which supports a YES vote for public education. The Carpenters Union Local 1319 supports the bond election and knows that a YES vote can help turn bonds into buildings, buildings into training, and provide construction careers. Labor strongly supports a Vote YES for public education.
As in any campaign, voters are exposed to real facts as well as manufactured “facts” and it is critical to have informed voters in this election. One fact is that the average age of an APS school is 50 years old and a Vote Yes will mean that necessary repairs and improvements can be made.
Students throughout the district are out in their neighborhoods talking to voters on what a YES vote would mean to them. They are counting on voters to do the right thing and show that they support safe and comfortable learning environments. When voters say they support students and a NO vote, they are really saying that they are voting against resources which students need in order to compete in a global marketplace.
Former governor, Susana Martinez was never a fan of APS. The Board and superintendent pushed back on her punitive policies and her supporters are spreading incorrect information so that she gets a last attack on APS administrators. Part of her supporters’ false message is that the administration of APS is top-heavy.
APS is the 40th largest district in the country and a recent audit shows that actually is not the case. The incorrect information continues by stating that money will go to administrators only and never reach the classroom. This is a blatant myth and a vote NO based on this misinformation is simply an excuse to vote against public education.
A vote YES on all three questions would raise $900 million over six years.
The first question is asking a public-school capital improvements tax of two dollars per thousand dollars of taxable value.
The second question is asking to tax of $4.83 per thousand dollars of taxable value on residential property and $5.34 per thousand dollars on taxable value on non-residential property.
The third question is a $200 million-dollar general obligation bond authorization.
Those who oppose public education are turning the actual figures into false numbers. They are claiming that seniors will lose their homes and others are going to have to take out a loan to pay for the tax increase. This is ridiculously false. The average person will pay $100 a year. That is a small price to pay so that students are safe and are in a comfortable environment with needed resources.
The last time that APS asked the voters to vote on a Bond was in 2006. During this time 152 projects were completed. In most places this is called responsible administration. The repairs, remodeling, and rebuilding are in all areas of the district. It is not true that areas such as the South Valley are ignored. This is just another worn-out myth.
A vote YES will make sure that students have not only safe and functional buildings but also access to musical instruments, library books, technology, science kits, art equipment and classroom furniture. These are not luxuries but are essential to teaching and learning. I know this because I am a teacher-librarian in an APS school.
My colleagues and I are voting YES for our students and our profession.
I have joined my fellow ATF members in a campaign to get out the YES votes.
We are in these buildings every day and we know first-hand how critical a vote YES is to keep our schools standing and functioning.
We know the difference between the actual facts and those manufactured ones.
We know that a vote YES is a vote for public education and we know that public education is the cornerstone of our democracy.”
APS School Liberian
Albuquerque Teachers Federation
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sara Attleson has been an educator in for 42 years.
She studied Library Science at University of Southern California.
Ms. Attleson has had remarkable 35 career with the Albuquerque Public Schools, where she has been a school librarian.
Sarah has also been a teacher’s union member for 42 years.
Currently, Sarah is Chair of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation Committee on Political Education.
Ms. Attleson is the Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers and the New Mexico Committee on Political Education.
Ms. Attelson is currently serving as the Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico Labor Caucus.
There is no doubt Sarah Attelson is a dedicated and hardworking APS school employee who has the priority of making sure our kids get a quality education
For a related blog article and further analysis and commentary on the APS mail in ballot initiative see: