Gilbert Serrano Takes The Plunge And Runs For School Board

Gilbert Serrano. Valley Daily Post photo

Gilbert Serrano Takes The Plunge And Runs For School Board

Staff Report

This is the second part of a series to educate voters about the different candidates running for school board, the Valley Daily Post invites candidates to participate in a candidate profile series. 

The recent takeover of the Espanola public schools by the New Mexico’s Public Education Department (PED) was not the original reason Gilbert Serrano thought about running for school board, but it was possibly the push that made him take the plunge. Serrano is a candidate in the Feb. 7 election for the District 3 school board position.

Serrano said in an interview with the Valley Daily Post that the takeover should be alarming to every parent and taxpayer in this District. On Nov. 17, 2016 the State of New Mexico’s Public Education Department formally took control of all Espanola Public School District finances citing concerns over fiscal mismanagement.

PED remains in control of the school district financials and earlier this month the Attorney General and District Attorney’s office visited District offices seizing records on district procurement contracts. The following week the same law enforcement officials presented search warrants at the homes of County Commissioner Barney Trujillo and Joseph Torres, both who have held contracts with the school district in recent years.

Serrano referenced these recent incidents and “the numerous lawsuits over the last few months” as symptoms of serious issues that are impacting district students.

“Do we want more of the same or do we as a community want to take over our schools and rid our school board of politics and place our time energy and money on what really matters, our students and teachers” Serrano asks.

This is Serrano’s first run at a political office but as a lifelong resident of San Pedro has a history of volunteering for civil organizations related to schools throughout the community.  He served for nine years as the president of the Espanola Valley High Schools Athletic Booster Club, raising more than $50,000 per year and accounting for all money raised in clean audits. He also served on similar school support boards for McCurdy Charter School and Holy Cross School.

He also recently retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory and served 25 years with the IBEW, most recently as their assistant business manager for Local No. 611.

Serrano is married to Carmen Serrano and has two sons, Jacob and Christopher. He attended College of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico Community College, and is a member of Holy Cross Parish.

When asked why he is running Serrano said “I’m doing it because someone needs to be there to speak for the kids”. As a final message to voters Serrano said he wants to assure the people of the valley that “as a board member I will listen to their concerns, and insure that the board acts with due diligence which is policy, hiring of a superintendent, and budget.”

Serrano offered to meet with any members of the public with Pat Chavez, his opponent in the Feb. election “so that we can truly compare and contrast the issues”.

The Feb 7 election will determine who takes this vacant school board seat. Early voting is going on now or voters can vote at their usual polling locations on Tuesday, Feb. 7.