Q&A APS Board District 5 Emma Jones - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A APS Board District 5 Emma Jones

Emma Jones

Name: Emma Jones

Political party: Democratic

Age: 34

Education: High school diploma, Freedom High school, 2005

Occupation: Independent consultant

Family: Married to Tyson Jones and we have two children

Relevant experience: Former executive director at Learning Alliance of New Mexico, former co-director at SouthWest Organizing Project, former youth organizer at the SouthWest Organizing Project, former Los Companero tutor/mentor with the Enlace Statewide Collaborative, current member of Families United for Education, current member of Transform Education New Mexico Coalition.

Campaign website: emma4aps.com

What’s the biggest issue APS faces? How would you address it?

Inequity is the biggest issue facing APS. Throughout the pandemic many students and families went without resources, including technology, Wi-Fi, mental health services, support programs, and meals. To address inequities we need to do several things, provide wrap-around services, support teachers’ development, pay them fairly, and utilize innovative curriculum.

In your opinion, what is the primary role of a school board member?

The primary role of a board member is to develop and oversee policy, hire and fire the superintendent and support them in the alignment and implementation in policy, and approve the budget which currently stands at $1.8 billion.

How would you evaluate the current school board’s performance?

I evaluate performance on care and time taken to listen to community. I believe they are doing a good job. We don’t always agree, but each member has a good heart, love for children, and desire to see APS thrive. However, we need younger people with children on the board.

What experience do you have overseeing a budget?

As a nonprofit executive director, it has been my responsibility to fundraise and manage the budget of the organization. The two organizations I have worked for in that capacity were mid-level organizations, one of which had a budget in excess of a million dollars.

Would you support a vaccine mandate for APS students who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? Why or why not?

I don’t support a vaccine mandate or penalizing people who can’t get vaccinated. However, I believe in caring for our neighbors, and think we should highly encourage everyone that is eligible to get a vaccine. I believe in body autonomy and know that one size fits all solutions don’t work.

What’s your position on mask mandates at schools?

I do support a mask mandate. I think masks and social distancing are one thing that comes without consequence, that we can do together to reduce the spread of the virus. I also think it is our responsibility as a district to provide PPE to schools, students and the staff.

Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a return to remote learning?

We should do everything we can to keep students and staff safe, and in the classroom. This includes following the science, abiding by mandates, and returning to remote learning if required. However, I think we should try to keep students in the classroom, and prepare effective plans for different scenarios.

Do you think superintendent applications should be public?

Yes, I have been a vocal advocate for over a decade for transparency in the hiring of superintendents. I believe their applications should be public and there should be a portion of the process dedicated to community input built into the hiring process.

How would you evaluate APS as a whole?

I think APS has bright spots that should be uplifted, like the dual-language program, bilingual seal, school-based health centers, and community schools. However, there are systemic issues that have long plagued public education. We must work to undo these issues, so we don’t perpetuate cycles of oppression.

What’s your stance on charter schools?

I think charters have innovative curriculum and practices that APS can learn from. However, charters aren’t equitable, because they rely on lotteries, have problems with transportation access, and typically cost more money per student. The board should be selective when approving new charters and for-profit charters shouldn’t be allowed.

APS has been sued numerous times for failing to release public records. What, if anything, would you do to ensure that the school district is adhering to state transparency laws, such as the Inspection of Public Records Act?

I’m an advocate for the release of public records. On the board, I would work with the superintendent to ensure this department is always staffed, and complies with IPRA in a timely fashion to ensure we are not wasting money on avoidable lawsuits.

Personal background

1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?

No.

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No.

3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, or any misdemeanor or felony?

No.


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