Cindy Enos-Martinez for District B seat

This is a critical time for School District 51, with continuing demands for improvements in academic performance, even as it faces the worst budget crunch in recent memory.

The district has asked voters to help the schools out by passing Referred Measure 3B, which would boost local property taxes to raise an estimated $12.5 million a year for local schools.

At such a critical time, it’s a shame there aren’t more people willing to take on the difficult job of school board member. As it is, we have one unopposed candidate, Jeff Leany in District A, while two women run for District B — incumbent Cindy Enos-Martinez and challenger Ann Tisue.

We wish there were more choices and more candidates willing to take a strong stand on key issues. Unfortunately, both candidates in the contested race tend to rely more on platitudes than specific policy prescriptions when it comes to explaining how they would deal with school district problems.

Take the issue of budget cuts that will be required if more revenue isn’t forthcoming. Both Enos-Martinez and Tisue said everything should be on the table, but both declined to say what they would recommend be cut.

Voters deserve to know more, such as:

✔ Do the candidates favor curtailing athletics or other extra-curricular activities before more classroom cuts occur?

✔ Do they believe cutting school busing will be necessary?

✔ Since both candidates say they don’t favor closing any schools, how will they justify keeping schools open where student enrollment has declined sharply, and the money from such schools could be used to offset cuts elsewhere?

We agree with Tisue that more choices for students and parents are great. We have argued for increased educational choices for many years. But making more school choices available becomes increasingly difficult as budget constraints worsen.

Both candidates mentioned their support for Senate Bill 191, the 2010 legislation that eliminates automatic teacher tenure and requires regular evaluations of teachers and school principals. We agree that it’s important for ensuring we have quality teachers, which is why we heartily endorsed it last year. But only Enos-Martinez noted that the legislation entails increased costs and administrative effort for the district in evaluating teachers and principals.

Finally, Enos-Martinez has made clear her support for Referred Measure 3B, which we believe is necessary for District 51 to maintain quality education in this valley. She voted to put it on the ballot and supports its passage.

Tisue, in contrast, has said she personally won’t vote for it, but doesn’t want to suggest to voters how to cast their ballots. That’s a cop-out, as far as we’re concerned. A candidate who wants to be involved in planning the future of the district should take a public stand on such an important measure.

Vote for Cindy Enos-Martinez.


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