When Voz Collegiate Preparatory Charter School was unexpectedly denied a charter outright at the Albuquerque Public Schools’ board meeting (Aug. 21), founder Isaac Rivas-Savell wasn’t the only one who felt a sense of loss.
After stating his application had “set a new bar,” that his governing board of directors was “among the most impressive” they’d seen and hearing more than a dozen community members stand in support, the APS board voted 5-2 against the charter, despite a recommendation of approval from APS staff.
It’s not that Voz Collegiate didn’t sound like a good idea, they reasoned; Albuquerque just doesn’t need another school.
As a leader of charter schools in Albuquerque, I would have competed for students with Voz Collegiate, but that is beside the point. We support promising new schools like Rivas-Savell’s because students and families deserve school options that will best serve them. That is the promise of charter schools and, frankly, should be the promise of all of our schools. Competition is welcome, and will help us to continue to grow and provide the best schools that we can for the city of Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico.
As Matt Pahl, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition for Public Charter Schools, stated at the APS hearing, the number of charter schools in the state has decreased since 2015, largely due to a focus on quality in the charter sector. That is a good thing for our students. Charter schools like ours are held accountable to students and families, and if we fail to provide a good school for them, we face closure. This means better schools for New Mexico, and that is something that we should all be in favor of.