SAGUACHE — The petitions to recall Center School Board Member Yuridia Cendejas now have been remedied and were declared sufficient last Friday, Sagauche County Clerk and Recorder Carla Gomez confirmed Tuesday.
According to Gomez, some 80 additional signatures were added to Cendejas’ petitions. The clerk also verifies signatures added to the “cured” petitions for authenticity and compliance with recall rules. Petitions can only be re-circulated once, Gomez noted.
Both Cendejas’ and fellow board member Richard Barela’s petitions are now cured of their insufficiency, although the protest period for both school board members remains open until next week. “They are on the ballot as of now, but that could change” before the protest period ends, Gomez observed.
“So many people have signed, want off, then want on again,” Gomez remarked. The recall election has kept her on the phone, most of the time with the Secretary of State’s office, for weeks, she related. “Now we are trying to get the ballots printed and lease the machines.”
The recall election is set for Feb. 24. Candidates wishing to petition onto the ballot to run against those being recalled have until Friday to submit their petitions to the clerk’s office.
School board Members Phillip Varoz and James Sanchez submitted their ballot statements Dec. 30 explaining why they should not be recalled.
“Responsibility as a school board member is to oversee the education, safety and welfare of Center School students and to review the way tax dollars are spent. I have upheld this responsibility and should not be recalled. As a board member it is important to listen to parents and community members and ask questions of the administration. I have questioned the academic performance of Center students. Although Center students show some growth, we need to continue to raise our expectations so that all Center students are prepared to continue their education after high school or prepared to enter the work place.
“All Center students have the ability to be successful if given a good education. This requires honest assessment of student performance levels. I have also questioned the Alternative Expulsion Program. This program has been in existence since 1998 and yet until this year no board members have spoken on behalf of students placed in isolation cells for up to seven hours a day for up to 10 weeks. This administration continues this program.
“Since elected a year ago I raised the issues of hiring more teachers in order for class size to be reduced, purchasing more buses because of an aging bus fleet and for student safety concerns, and providing health insurance for the classified staff. We successfully prioritize district funds for these expenditures. I feel the community needs to be informed about district matters. Other board members have been bullied off the board because they asked tough questions. I was asked to run for the school board because of my educational background, to ask the tough questions, to review student achievement and oversee,” (Phillip Varoz).
“My responsibility as a Center School Board member is to think about the best interest of Center students and the Center School District. I have continually expressed opinions and questions voiced to me by the constituents who elected me. We have acquired health insurance for classified staff and purchased buses to insure students’ safety, because of the questions and concerns I have raised.
“I have voted with the rest of the board 99 percent of the time on the superintendent’s resolutions including staff hiring and staff pay increases. I have been labeled disruptive because I have raised questions about the Alternative to Expulsion Program in which students are placed in isolation cells for up to seven hours per day for up to 10 weeks. I have also questioned the academic performance of Center students.
“I want all Center students to succeed. My concerns are the academic excellence and well-being of all Center students. For these reasons, I do not feel I should be,” (James Sanchez).
As with the ballot statement for the Center town board recall election, voters should be advised that statements made on the recall ballot are not checked by the state for factual accuracy in order to qualify as statements.
For the complete article see the 01-15-2015 issue.