Teacher’s-aide says vote ‘yes’ on both amendments

Letter to the editor

By now, most citizens of Quay County are aware of the special election coming up on Tuesday. As a teachers-aide of 27 years in Tucumcari and as a grandparent of six grandchildren in the schools, I am asking the voting citizens of our county to please for passage of the two constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot.

Amendment One will provide for a secretary of education who, according to the law, must be a “qualified, experienced educator.” The secretary will advise the governor and sit as a member of the governor’s cabinet. Amendment One will elevate public education’s status equal to other cabinet level interests. The public, and that includes educators, want accountability. A secretary of education will be a person from whom they can hear progress reports and judge the performance of the administration.

Amendment Two will provide needed funding from our Permanent School Fund. Why is this funding needed? (1) New Mexico’s teachers are now among the most poorly compensated in the nation. If we are to attract and retain great teachers, we must improve salaries. (2) More funds are needed to help for teacher salary minimums that are part of the rigorous new three-tier licensure system signed into New Mexico law last spring. (3) these funds are also needed to help implement the federal mandates (largely not funded) from the No Child Left Behind Act.

A careful reading of Amendment Two shows that it provides many prudent safeguards that will protect our fund for the future. Amendment One provides an opportunity for the children in our schools to get the attention they deserve. I believe this is why many of our long-serving and respected leaders, such as Governors Richardson and Carruthers, Senators Domenici and Bingaman, among many others, support these amendments.

I have enjoyed working here these many years because people in this area support their schools. I am asking for your help and support once again, not for me, but for our children and grandchildren. This is a vote for the future. Please vote “yes” on Amendments One and Two.

Rita Romero, Tucumcari Middle School