ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The longest-serving member of the Albuquerque Public Schools board, Marty Esquivel, will not seek re-election in February.
“I’m going to devote more time to my kids and my law practice,” Esquivel told the Journal Thursday, explaining he won’t seek a third term after having served eight years on the school board.
Esquivel serves District 4, which covers the Southeast Heights, the fairgrounds and some surrounding neighborhoods.
The two other board members who are up for re-election – president Analee Maestas and Kathy Korte – have both said they will seek a second term in office.
The election is Feb. 3. Candidate filing day is Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Bernalillo County clerk’s office.
Maestas, who serves District 1, which covers the South Valley, was pretty sure for some time that she would run, but was also recently encouraged by constituents, she said.
Korte said in a November news conference that she would run again, explaining she wants to continue to fight for parents and teachers who are dissatisfied with Gov. Susana Martinez’s education initiatives, including new teacher evaluations.
“Four years ago, I promised to be the voice of parents. I make that commitment again,” said Korte, who has been an outspoken critic of standardized testing, which she argues is overused in schools. Korte serves District 2, which covers a northwest section of Albuquerque and Corrales.
Esquivel said he’s proud that APS’s graduation rate climbed about 20 percentage points during his time on the board.
When he first took a seat on the board in 2007, the APS graduation rate was hovering near 50 percent.
In 2013, the last year for which data is available, the rate was 68.7 percent, according to the state. APS also calculates its own graduation rate, which excludes district-authorized charter schools, which was 73.3 percent in 2013.
But Esquivel said the school board has much work ahead of it, including making sure kids not only graduate, but also are also ready for college when they do. And the board must do more to address the district’s high truancy rates, he said. “I think the issue of truancy is something we’ve all talked about but never gotten to the bottom of,” Esquivel said.
He also bemoaned the fact that school board elections are largely ignored by Albuquerque residents.
“It’s not a good reflection on anyone that only 3 percent of our electorate votes in these elections,” Esquivel said.
Maestas agreed the low voter turnout is troubling given the importance of the school board.
She also said Esquivel was an asset to the board, especially given his knowledge of the law.