Board leader to leave soon

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By Don Pace

Las Vegas City Schools board President Ramon “Swoops” Montaño dropped a bombshell at Tuesday’s board meeting, telling fellow members he would be leaving his post before the February election.

“I will step down from my position on the board of education in December. Being away from my four kids, who live in Rio Rancho, has become too much of a burden,” Montaño said.

Montaño said some close associates were asking why he didn’t just finish out his term. He said his son was going through another ankle surgery from a football injury and that he wanted to be close by. He also said his job with a security firm was was another consideration.

“My job is taking me farther and farther away from Las Vegas. I will be spending a lot of time in the Albuquerque and Las Cruces areas, and I don’t think it’s fair for me to not be here as much as I can. This is a tough decision,” Montaño said.

Montaño said he hoped the board would appoint an interim to fill his position before the school board election.

“Sometimes not all board members are able to make a meeting, and not having a quorum would be wrong and unfair to the taxpayers. So I am asking those who might be interested in sitting on this board to submit a letter of interest,” Montaño said.

Montaño noted that member Elaine Luna was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Jody Stege.

Member Phillip Vigil said, “Personally I don’t see the need to fill the position, not with the board election only two months away.”

Montaño is also the president of the state school board association.

He said he would step down from that post as well. But he said he would continue to advocate for public education at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

Montaño said his state position has given him insights to what is going on at the Legislature and warned the board there are more budget cuts coming down the pike that will further impact schools around the state.

“There are also key committee meetings taking place right now where lawmakers are talking about consolidating schools — not only East and West, but consolidating rural schools under one administration,” Montaño said.

Montaño urged board members to lobby the local delegation and to take time to voice their opinions face to face with legislators in Santa Fe.           

Montaño told the Optic, “I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve spent serving the district’s kids. I can’t thank the people of Las Vegas enough for putting their trust in me, believing in me and electing me to three terms.” 

Montaño said he would submit a formal letter of resignation at the next regular board meeting in December. He said he hadn’t decided if he will run for future political office, but he didn’t rule out the possibility.