Friday, June 21, 2013

APS School Board split

It would appear there is a split in the APS School Board - basically old members against new.  The newbies are School Board Member Analee Maestas with two years of experience and the brand new members, Donald Duran and Steven Michael Quezada.

Whether a split board is good or bad is subject to dispute; it's nice to have a smooth running board in basic agreement, but it can be taken too far as in the monolithic boards under former School Board President Paula Maes and current School Board President Marty Esquivel before the elections.

The latest split vote is reported in the Journal, link.  The vote was over raising health insurance premiums for APS employees.

The dissenting board members are reported to have voted against the raised out of concern for the hardship it would place on employees. 

Analee Maestas wondered;

“How do our educational assistants, how will they be able to afford insurance costs like this?”
Like the members who voted in favor of raising premiums, the board members who "took care of business", don't have any concern for employees?

The vote should not have been split.  To vote against the raises, without a having any other alternative, was disingenuous.

School Board Secretary Kathy Korte put it succinctly;
“I’m going to make a motion to approve even though it’s horrible.”
“My heart goes out to our employees.”
The Journal reports that the board members who voted for the changes "... did so reluctantly, feeling they had no choice".

I wonder what Maestas, Duran and Quezada would have done if three board members before them had already voted no; would they then have voted yes (because they had to, because it was the only choice?)

I can't help but feel that in this case, board unanimity would have been a better call.  Dissenters voted against something that they knew was going to happen regardless of their vote.  In some future election they can claim to have voted against raising premiums while the board members who stood up to take the hit, will have to explain to voters, why they voted to raise premiums on financially strapped employees.

photos Mark Bralley

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