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Martin-lujan-l

School Board Pop Quiz

SFPS Board of Education candidates face off

January 28, 2009, 12:00 am

For the Feb. 3 Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education elections, SFR called up candidates in the contested races to test their knowledge. The rules for Pop Quiz are as follows: No research allowed and, if they call back later with the right answer, too bad. To see who answered correctly (or came closest), check out our answer key below.

Questions
1. The last time you were in school, what was your grade point average?
2. SFPS expects first graders to be able to “use the scientific method.” Explain the scientific method.
3. How many students attend SFPS?
4. What percent of those students pay full price for their lunches—that is, do not receive free or reduced-price lunches?
5. This year, 69 percent of white sixth graders in SFPS read “proficiently.” What percentage
of Hispanic sixth graders read proficiently?
6. Between sixth and 11th grades, do students’ overall proficiency scores get higher or lower? Why the difference?
7. How much of the $160 million bond measure for SFPS on the Feb. 3 ballot is set aside for “student management software”?
8. Why are you running?

DISTRICT 3
Martin Lujan (pictured at top) is the incumbent board president. His 4-year-old son will enter Gonzales Elementary next year.
1. Gosh, what—I don’t remember. I couldn’t say.
2. Ha. That’s a good one. (Long pause.) The scientific method. I would guess that it would be deductive learning: being able to break it down, follow a formula.
3. I think it’s 13,256, including charter [schools].
4. Our district is at about 74 to 76 percent free and reduced, so I’d say about 25 to 26 percent are paying full price.
5. I think the numbers are around 42 to 44 percent. I attribute that gap to—it’s a hard question. [The way to close] the gap would be to get the expectation to our children’s parents and the community.
6. They get higher.
7. I’m going to go with $600,000.
8. I believe that my accomplishments as a board member and my record as a board member has really served the constituency of District 3. My community involvement and my 15-year work is something I believe can make a difference.
   
Sergio Rodríguez-Romo is a house painter. He has a junior at the private St. Michael’s High School.
1. At university, 9.2, on a scale from one to 10. I graduated in Mexico. My specialty is math.
2. The scientific method: how to solve a problem. First of all, you need to know the kind of problem that you are facing. Second one, you need to collect data concerning the problem. Third one, you have to select or to choose the best option to solve the problem. No. 4, you have to monitor those things that you find out and be flexible. Fifth, is to check the results.
3. Right now it’s around 12,000.
4. I would say it’s 15 percent.
5. I would make a parenthesis: When you said Hispanic, your question implied that they have been here 100 years. It is something they need to change. We need to know how many are Hispanic or Mexican-American or Latinos. In that fragment—that’s the problem. So we [Mexican-Americans] are in the lower rank. Hispanos are about 55 percent. Mexican-Americans, we lower it all the way.
6. They are going to be lower…The problem is between seventh and eighth grade.
7. I don’t know the answer…[But] I would like to concentrate more on students than on buildings.
8. I’m running, first of all, because I need to give back something to Santa Fe. No. 2, I want representation for the Latinos, for the Mexican-Americans. No. 3, I’m running because I haven’t seen results from Martin Lujan, who’s been our representative for eight years. We need new ideas, fresh energy, popular input.

Barbara Gudwin is retired and serves on the Santa Fe Community Foundation board. Her two daughters did not attend SFPS.
1. My GPA was probably a 3.0—B average.
2. The scientific method is where you have a hypothesis. And then you have a—oh geez—and then you have to prove that hypothesis. And then, let me see—what else? And you have to change variables—one group that stays stable and then there’s one group that has variables…I got two of however many!
3. Depending on the figure, between 13,000 and 13,500.
4. I think it’s 74 percent free or reduced-rate lunch.
5. Well, I’m not exactly sure on reading, but I’m going to guess it’s 10 to 20 percent below [the white students]. It’s significant, in all areas, that spread—and it’s disturbing, to say the least.
6. Lower. In sixth grade you have a significant number of children who leave the public school system and go to private or independent schools, and the same thing happens in eighth grade. Those are the children who are, for the most part, succeeding…when you take the 300 or 400 kids who are leaving, you’re going to reduce the test scores.
7. I don’t have the dollar amount or the percent? Is it $69,000?
8. I’m running because I think every child in Santa Fe deserves the best education we can provide. If we look at the achievement levels in the children in the schools today, it becomes clear that we’re not meeting the expectations of a good public school education. My youngest daughter has learning disabilities that weren’t able to be met [in public school], and my older daughter had some behavioral issues that led her to drop out.

DISTRICT 5
Frank Montaño, a former Santa Fe city councilor, is the incumbent board member. His wife’s step-granddaughter is a junior at the SER Career Academy.
1. Oh, that was—that would’ve been back in like ’76 or something. I was in my second year at [College of Santa Fe], and that’s quite a while back. I’m going to guess 2.5-3.0. I’m going to say 2.5 just to be safe.
2. OK, well, the scientific method would be a method where you look for the facts, if I remember from elementary school. That’s about as close as I can get to that. I haven’t been to school since 1976.
3. There’s 13,557.
4. I think it’s like 26 percent.
5. See, let me think. Our sixth graders, for reading, are at about 43 percent.
6. They get lower. When the kids hit the seventh grade, some of them are far behind. And then because of that, some of them develop discipline problems.
7. $3 million.
8. Because I’ve been there for four years and there are some things I want to work on over the next four years. I’m running just to follow through on what I started.

Peter Brill runs Sarcon Construction. His son is a fifth grader at Rio Grande Elementary; his daughter is a freshman at Santa Fe High.
1. My GPA I think was something like—I don’t know, I don’t really track those things—3.2 or 3.5.
2. Any answer would be too much of a guess. I’m running for oversight and management and leadership, not professional education. That’s not our mandate, as far as board members go. So you can say my answer is “N/A.” I will understand all the most important specific issues that I need to make a decision.
3. The answer is approximately 13,000, and it depends if you’re adding the attendance at charter schools.
4. I don’t know on an aggregate level. I think there are some schools where 90 percent of the kids are on reduced or free lunch but, in general…I don’t believe any school in the system has a majority on full-priced lunch.
5. Between 30 and 35 percent. It’s a huge gap. It’s indefensible, and that’s part of the reason why I’m putting myself forward. It’s not good. I don’t think we ought to be particularly proud of our accomplishments as a community.
6. They go down. We’re losing the interest of children. It’s reflected in the dropout rate. We’re losing their interest and their academic proficiency in middle schools.
7. It’s somewhere between $5 million and $10 million.
8. The board and District 5 could be a whole lot better in terms of policy and governance. I’m a believer in process and providing vision, speaking to that vision, doing things in a different manner than we’ve witnessed they’re done. I don’t think we’ve done a good job of getting out of the way of professional educators and the CEO of the organization, [Superintendent] Bobbie Gutierrez. I’d like to bring a quieter approach based on consensus, respect. I’d like to have less meetings, shorten their duration and make them more focused.

SFR Answer Key
2. The steps of the scientific method are: Ask a question, conduct background research, form a hypothesis, conduct an experiment to test the hypothesis, observe the results and form a conclusion.
3. Including four charter schools: 13,557.
4. Twenty-six percent of students do not get free or reduced lunch.
5. This year, 37 percent of Hispanic students met reading targets—a 32-point gap behind white students. Of the “English-language learners” who are tested in Spanish, only 15 percent made reading targets.
6. Overall proficiency scores decline between sixth and 11th grades, by three percentage points for reading and one point for math.
7. The bond measure includes $3 million for new software to track student attendance, performance and demographics.
 

 

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