Thursday, December 10, 2015

Should the APS' bond issue be denied?

In fewer than three months, voters will decide whether the leadership of the APS will become the stewards of hundreds of millions more tax dollars.

There are at least two ways to look at it.  First; will the tax dollars benefit the nearly ninety thousand of our sons and daughters in the APS?  A collateral benefit, though one they don't seem ever to want to admit, is the shot in the arm for River City's big builders, and ultimately the entire economy.  Is that enough of a reason to support the issue?

Another way to look at the issue is whether, regardless of all of the good reasons to pass the bond issue, there is trust in the stewardship of the leadership of the APS?  Can they, will they, be good stewards? 

Can we give them hundreds of million dollars to spend on worthy projects and expect them to spend them effectively and efficiently?

The sad truth is that stake and interest holders cannot trust the leadership of the APS to be good stewards of their resources.  They have not been before, they are not now, and there is no reason to expect that they will ever be, good stewards.

The allegation is easy to prove.  The capacity of the leadership of the APS to effectively steward more than a billion tax dollars every year is easily measured;

1.  Are the ethics, standards and accountability that govern the wielding of power and the spending of resources high enough to protect the public interests in the public schools? and
2.  Are school board members and administrators actually, honestly accountable to those standards?
Before the leadership of the APS and the local construction industry ask for another penny, it is reasonable to expect them to
1.  point to ethics and high enough standards that protect the public interests and then to
2.  point to their honest to God accountability to them.
    The truth is they have few ethics and high standards.  And even those all but unenforceable.  There isn't one whit of difference between the highest and lowest standards unless there is actual, honest to God accountability to them.

    The leadership of the APS is not actually, honestly accountable to any standards of conduct at all; not even the law*.
    *Accountability to the law, the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings, can be avoided by school board members and superintendents spending utterly unjustifiable amounts of money on litigation and legal weaselry in order to "admit no guilt" when they break the law.
    I cite as but one example;
    • the APS Board of Education has a Code of Ethics, link.
    • to which they are, by their own admission, utterly unaccountable.  It was unenforceable the night they adopted it and they have done nothing to rectify the situation.  They provide no venue in which any complaints can be filed against them for even the most egregious violations of their own code of ethics.
    Stake and interest holders remain uninformed.  In particular, voters remain uninformed about the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

    They remain uniformed in no small part, because the heavy hitters in the local media have relentlessly refused for many years, to inform stake and interest holders about the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

    The simple proof of that allegation lies in the fact that;
    • neither will any one of them report that there isn't an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.
    Not even in the face of a bond issue election worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and where that information could not be more germane.

    I believe it is fair to lay blame on Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz, though the news directors (and or owners) of NM Broadcasters Association affiliates KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV are equally worthy of blame.  And all of whom put personal and professional interests before the public interests.

    photo Mark Bralley

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