By Mike Cook
Las Cruces Bulletin
The general election is over, but there’s another very important local election on the horizon – three seats on the Las Cruces Public Schools board of education.
The election is Tuesday, Feb. 7. Voters should know that Charles R. Wendler, a candidate for District 2, has withdrawn from the race, even though his name will appear on the ballot.
Early voting in the school board election begins Friday, Jan. 13 and continues through Friday. Feb 3. Early voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (including during lunch) Monday through Friday at the Doña Ana County Government Center, Room 111, 845 N. Motel Blvd. You can even vote there on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Monday, Jan. 16.
Voting convenience centers will be open on election day (Tuesday, Feb. 7) for all eligible voters in school districts 1, 2 and 3 at these locations on election day. If you live in any of the districts on the ballot, you can vote at any one of the convenience centers.
Jornada Elementary, 3400 Elks Drive; Mayfield High School, 1955 N. Valley Drive; Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave.; Doña Ana County Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd., Room 111; Lynn Middle School, 950 S. Walnut St.; Tombaugh Elementary School, 226 Carver Road; Las Alturas Fire Station, 4145 Cholla Road; Hillrise Elementary School, 1400 South Curnutt St.; and University Hills Elementary School, 2005 S. Locust St.
You must be a registered voter to cast a ballot in the election, and you must live in one of the districts that will be on the ballot. Jan. 10 was the last day to register to vote in the school board election.
To determine which district you live in, visit the LCPS website at http://lcps.k12.nm.us/, click on “School Board” in the left-hand column, then click on “District Maps” and “Map of Board of Education Districts, 1-5.”
The LCPS board of education has five seats, with members serving four-year terms. Three seats are up in 2017, and two incumbents are retiring from the board. School board elections are nonpartisan, and there are no runoffs. Whichever candidate receives the most votes in each race wins that seat.
“Traditionally, school board elections get very low voter turnout, which is disappointing,” said Jo Galvan, LCPS chief communications officer. “School board members determine the policies that govern our entire educational system and they set the budget that operates our schools. Hopefully, more voters will recognize the importance of this election and will cast their vote.”
In District 1, 16-year incumbent Chuck Davis is not running for re-election. The only candidate on the ballot is Ray Jaramillo.
In District 2, incumbent Barbara Hall, who was appointed to the board in 2010 and re-elected without opposition in 2012, is not running for re-election. There are three candidates in this race: Allison K. Smith, Terrie Dallman and Ronald James Fitzherbert. Charles R. Wendler, District 2, has withdrawn from the race. His name will still appear on the ballot but he is no longer running.
In District 3, incumbent Maria A. Flores is seeking re-election. She was elected to the board in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. She is the current board president. Also on the ballot in district three are Wanda R. Bowman, Mary Lou Barrio and Gerald Michael Miller.
For more information, call the county Bureau of Elections at 575-647-7428. Visit https://donaanacounty.org/elections/2017-School-Board-Elections.