It’s clear that there’s considerable interest in this year’s school board elections — the turnout at last week’s forums demonstrated that. And for those who are still pondering whom to vote for, the Optic is producing an election guide, to be inserted in Friday’s paper, that’s packed with viewpoints and opinions from all 17 candidates running in the Las Vegas elections. Read their responses to our questions and you’ll have an even better idea where each candidate stands.
As for the two school districts, there are some stark differences regarding the issues facing them. The most obvious is the status of the districts’ highest appointed positions. In the West Las Vegas district, Ruben Cordova seems respected, and that has made the circumstances better for the three incumbents who are running for re-election.
Indeed, while we still get wind of in-fighting at West, it seems a lot milder than even a year ago, when a divided board voted to fire Jim Abreu as superintendent over, well, vague reasons.
Politics, we believe, is never far away from the administrative functions of West’s schools, but Cordova seems to be managing it all quite well — and that bodes well for the current school board members.
In the Las Vegas City School District, however, dissatisfaction abounds on a number of fronts. Money and tax increases, alleged sexual misbehavior, sagging morale among teachers, and other issues have the school board on the defensive, and for good reason.
The district has seen better days.
But there’s one issue on the east side that we see as more pertinent to Tuesday’s election than any other, and we hope voters will consider it when casting their ballots. Within weeks after being elected, the newly assembled school board will select a new superintendent. Their choice could make all the difference in the world. The new superintendent will have the opportunity to change a lot of things for the better, not the least of which is teacher morale, which suffered terribly under former superintendent Richard Romero.
So maybe when East voters mark their ballots, they should be asking themselves who are the best candidates for hiring the next superintendent. That could be the single biggest decision made in the district this year.
The Optic editorial board has been wrestling with the question of whom to endorse, and whether to endorse, in this election cycle. We’ve concluded that we should tell you what we think, but we won’t make a big deal of it. And, of course, after expressing our opinion, we’ll leave it in the capable hands of you, the voters.
In the West Las Vegas races, we see no reason to get rid of any of the incumbents, so we recommend that voters return Kenny Lujan, Gary Gold and Caroline Lopez to the school board. West appears to be moving in the right direction for the most part, and we think the district will benefit from their experience.
On the east side, we’re most impressed with Felix Alderete, who would bring some real dedication to the job; Mark Montoya, because he seems so real and genuine and willing to consider new ways of doing things; and Ricky Serna, who in our opinion is the most promising candidate out there.