Name: Crystal Tapia-Romero
Political party: DTS (other)
Education: Chaparral Elementary School, S.R. Marmon Elementary School, John Adams Middle School, West Mesa High School; A.A. business administration — CNM 2019; child development Associate — CNM 2003;
Occupation: Early childhood educator — 21 years
Family: Married to Ricardo Romero; 3 children
Relevant experience: Over 20 years working in early childhood education. Serve on the Early Learning Advisory Council for the Governor’s Office. Serve as the policy chair for the New Mexico Child Care & Education Association, and also served on other education boards in New Mexico.
Campaign website: crystaltapiaromero.com
What’s the biggest issue APS faces? How would you address it?
Lack of trust within the district. APS has poor outcomes in academic success and no sufficient accountability for the budget. I will have open and transparent communication with families, teachers and students, operate the budget with attention to detail, and account for every dollar spent.
In your opinion, what is the primary role of a school board member?
■ Oversee and set policies that guide positive and strong outcomes for our students.
■ Oversee, manage, review, audit, and approve the more than $1.3-$1.8 billion APS budget. Complete fiscal stewardship of this critical budget.
■ Employment of the superintendent.
■ Shape the strategic direction and future of APS for our students.
How would you evaluate the current school board’s performance?
It’s very clear that what we continue to do isn’t working. There are four seats up on the school board for election this year, and yet NO incumbents are seeking reelection. The message is clear, it’s time for new leadership at the APS Board of Education.
What experience do you have overseeing a budget?
As a small business owner, I manage, audit and oversee budgets on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. In addition, I have written grants for millions of dollars of funding and have been the program manager overseeing spending from multiple organizations and departments.
Would you support a vaccine mandate for APS students who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? Why or why not?
No, I believe that decision should be up to the parent. I would follow the same policy that is currently in place regarding all immunizations required to attend school.
What’s your position on mask mandates at schools?
There is no one size fits all solution to a mask mandate. Consideration needs to be taken for students with special needs and appropriate use of mask-wearing. Additionally, sports should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to ensure that students are not at increased health risk due to mask mandates.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a return to remote learning?
Students need to be in school. Remote learning should continue to be offered to the families that want it through the current program with E-Cademy.
Do you think superintendent applications should be public?
Yes. All families and community members should be entitled to this information.
How would you evaluate APS as a whole?
Failing. If a system/program is failing then change must occur. We cannot continue to repeat the same decisions if it is causing a program to fail. We need to get uncomfortable and get results for our children.
What’s your stance on charter schools?
I support family choice. Additionally, APS could learn from some of the charter schools that are having better outcomes than APS. We need to learn to work together, not compete because we are all public schools. We are here for the students. Students come first.
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?
Open communication and proper oversight are key. Too many things are overlooked, ignored, or even worse, laws have been intentionally broken, and this can no longer be allowed and the board needs to make that clear.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, or any misdemeanor or felony?