The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education convened on August 2 to deliberate over contracts with the Albuquerque Teachers Federation and Communications Workers of America, as well as to conduct the board’s quarterly self-evaluation regarding student outcomes.
The meeting began with Board President Yolanda Montoya Cordova’s call for a moment of silence, reflecting on the importance of the upcoming school year. The board then began a self-evaluation about their work advancing “Student Outcomes Focused Governance,” focusing on metrics that assess their progress in advancing student outcomes.
“This is the work of the board, we are responsible for getting all of this done. So, we have spent a lot of time – about over a year – basically getting input, looking at this, and coaching ourselves up through this process so we can make sure we are getting these things done,” Montoya Cordova said.
Regarding APS’ Goals, Board Member Courtney Jackson pointed out improvements in the Vision and Goals section, saying, “I think we have made improvements up to 10 full points in the Vision and Goals section.” She attributed the progress to collaborative efforts between the superintendent and the board to establish interim goals. Board Members Peggy Mueller-Aragón and Montoya Cordova both expressed agreement and awarded 10 points for this segment.
When discussing board Values and Guardrails, the board agreed that they needed to better flush out the values and guardrails. At first, the board scored themselves as a five. “We are going to be spending a whole lot of time to continue this process.”
The board’s self-evaluation also involved assessing other areas of governance. These areas included “Monitoring and Accountability,” which refers to the systems in place to track progress and ensure responsible actions; “Communication and Collaboration,” which is about how effectively the board and APS staff work together and share information; and “Unity and Trust,” which examines whether the board is aligned under a unified direction, and whether trust is present among its members. The board scored themselves with a zero for each of these categories. Board members said they are working to improve but need more time for their efforts to yield improved scores. Board Member Crystal Tapia Romero said, “I just think there is a lot of disconnect on some of these areas [where] we have not followed through completely, just yet.”
Following the evaluation, the board turned its attention to contract discussions. APS had negotiation teams in place for both ATF and CWA contracts. For the ATF contract, language was established to ensure teacher prep time, non-violent intervention practice training, and updates to the salary matrix. Similarly, basic changes were made to the CWA contracts, which manage food services and maintenance operations.
An executive session followed, during which the board engaged with negotiators from these entities. After an hour, the public session resumed. Board Member Mueller-Aragón expressed the desire for stronger negotiations from APS in the future.
Board Member Jackson raised queries related to the teacher union’s support for instructional materials. “We talk a lot about the fact we have goals and guardrails, and a strategic plan,” Jackson said, explaining the importance of instructional policy, “Only 38 percent of our students were receiving grade level-specific curriculum. My concern about this memorandum of understanding is that it doesn’t have strength and action behind it,” Jackson said, referring to a new MOU included in the contract. Jackson added that she is “concerned this is not sufficient.”
Following discussions, the board voted on the contracts. The APS-ATF contract was approved with a four-to-three vote, with Mueller-Aragón, Jackson, and Tapia Romero dissenting. This vote came in the shadow of a grievance that was filed by ATF against APS days earlier.
The contracts with CWA were unanimously approved.
The meeting concluded with the board emphasizing their continued focus on students while respecting cultural diversity at APS.