On Tuesday, voters in San Miguel and Mora counties will go to the polls to elect school board members. We urge people to do their duty.
In recent years, school boards in New Mexico have lost some of their powers. They don’t have hiring authority other than picking a superintendent. That’s a good thing; we don’t want elected bodies getting into the day-to-day process of hiring new employees.
At the same time, boards still have much authority over the purse strings. And this is a vitally important responsibility.
Elections do matter when it comes to how well money is spent. Just look at West Las Vegas. Three years ago, the Optic reported on egregious spending in the bilingual program at West, most notably a $10,000 adults-only, invitation-only party.
In response, the board got defensive and called the party a networking event, but the public wasn’t fooled, seeing it for the waste of money that it was. At one point, a board member told questioning reporters to kiss his “green and gold” posterior. But in the next election, the voters essentially told him to do the same thing, overwhelmingly voting for one of his opponents.
These days, with a new West board, it seems as if the district has a much better handle on spending. We’re sure the district puts greater effort into its decisions on expenditures. And that benefits the taxpayers.
If the same board had stayed in place, we’re not sure that would have been the case. That’s why it’s so important for voters to make their wishes known in this election.
Do you want school boards to provide rigorous oversight or ones that look the other way when wrongdoing happens? It’s your decision.