As a community member, parent of former Santa Fe Public Schools students and a past school board member, I do not support adding another public charter school to the Santa Fe community. The proposed Thrive Community Charter School could potentially take 600 students from the Santa Fe school district, thereby further reducing enrollment and the corresponding state funding allocations.

The basic question the Public Education Commission needs to weigh is “should the benefits to potentially 600 students outweigh the needs of over 12,000 students?” With declining birth rates, limited financial resources, teacher shortages and existing charter/private schools, I believe the Santa Fe area already provides ample K-12 educational opportunities.

Please err on the side of caution and make sure all students have a quality education. Instead of adding more schools, work to strengthen what Santa Fe already has. I recommend the application for this charter school be denied.



Maureen Cashmon

Santa Fe

A billionaire’s toy

All agog over Richard Branson’s rocket ride to space last week from Virgin Galactic’s spaceport in Southern New Mexico, no journalist has seen fit to put this business through the kind of investigation that resulted in the New Mexico’s analysis of the benefit to the state coming from the film industry.

Spaceport America stood empty and silent for years after the state supplied millions of dollars in taxpayer money to get it started. Now, with the prospect of 600 rich people willing to pay $250,000 for a ride, we deserve to know how all this money is going to benefit our state. What are the implications for New Mexico tax revenue? Are there any jobs beyond janitorial offered at the spaceport for New Mexico residents? And, most important, what is the water consumption for this project and what are the environmental results of fuel and fumes blasted in the stratosphere?

Maybe the best we can do is sell T-shirts advertising, “New Mexico: Home to Billionaire’s Toy.”

Sallie Bingham

Santa Fe

Meaningless rebuke

Bishop Peter Baldacchino denies Communion to Sen. Joseph Cervantes because he voted his conscience on an abortion bill. Cardinals (like Bernard Law in Boston and Theodore McCarrick in Washington, D.C.) and bishops obstruct justice, hide pedophile priests and embezzle church funds, but land on their feet.

This disparity in ecclesiastical discipline demonstrates the meaninglessness of Baldacchino’s gesture.

Gene Roman

Bronx, N.Y.

Live or die right here

With the well-written article (“Pastoral paradise threatened?” July 18), I am left wondering: What will it take for everyone, including Gerald Peters, to realize that we cannot keep doing to the Earth what we’ve been doing?

Headlines such as the recent New York Times one regarding flash flooding in Europe scream at us: “No one is safe. Extreme weather batters the wealthy world.” Wildfires are ravaging the American West; the Siberian ancient forest is ablaze; the permafrost is melting; and ocean levels are rising. Evidence of our misuse of the planet is in no short supply. A sense of urgency is dangerously low. This is one ecosystem and the only planet on which we can all live (or die). What Peters does in Cow Creek has an impact much larger than the 65 new homeowners. Can wealth now be that important?

Barbara MacPhee

Santa Fe

Where’s the water?

Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, is credited with saying: “You can never be too thin or too rich.” Gerald Peters doesn’t look too thin, but ... . He must have found Ponce de León’s mythical Fountain of Youth and enjoys immortality. Today, a friend and I just came from fishing on Cow Creek and are stymied as to how Peters expects to get water to support his harebrained development scheme. With his galleries, restaurants and other personal and business holdings, like another person just said in the paper: A better legacy for the very rich Peters might be a donation to the Santa Fe Conservation Trust.

Richard L. Martinez

Santa Fe

On Wirth, Stewart

I want to respond to the article (“Outspoken Democrat splits from Senate caucus,” July 17) in which Sen. Jacob Candelaria accuses Sens. Peter Wirth and Mimi Stewart of not “living their Democrat values.” I beg to differ. As an ordinary citizen, I have experienced how good Wirth and Stewart are in passing legislation that is important to me, such as the national popular vote, aid in dying and marijuana reform. I find them to be empathetic people and capable leaders of a complex political machinery, the Senate. With all due respect, Candelaria should know better than anyone that legislation is like “making sausage” and that it requires patience and compromise within a team environment.

Guy Dimonte, Ph.D.

Santa Fe

A failure to hear

The next time my daughter asks me what I wanted to be when I was growing up, I am going to tell her that I wanted to be a rich person from out of state. I then want to move to New Mexico, since I have nothing better to do, and tell New Mexicans everything they are doing wrong and how to run their state. My reasoning for this: At least the state politicians would listen to me, because they surely do not listen to the people who elect them.

Francis Page

Albuquerque

(6) comments

Tekin Tuncer

As a former central office employee of SFPS, I strongly disagree with Maureen Cashmon. Parents and students in Santa Fe need more choices not less. If enrollment declines at SFPS, the solution is better budgeting.

Teacher shortage is not due to charter schools. The problem is not teacher shortage, it is high teacher turnover rate at SFPS which has been >20% annually for the last 5 years.

I urge PEC to approve THRIVE's charter application.

Tekin Tuncer

Khal Spencer

Sallie Bingham is spot on. The mindset that brought us the Spaceport also brought us the RailRunner. Pols never see a pie in the sky they can't resist. So I too would like to see the long term cost-benefit of this project. If all it brings is a truckload of tourism jobs, we know those have abysmal pay scales (just look at Santa Fe). So we need to balance the kinds of jobs this Spaceport will bring to the state vs. the investment our tax dollars are infusing into it. If all we are doing is subsidizing a bunch of rich people in the hope they leave good tips on the dining table, then I want out of this boondoggle.

Khal Spencer

Looking at the historically abysmal record of our public schools, I can understand why some want school choice. To me, its their right to do so and stopping them so that everyone with children can sink to the bottom is laughable.

If we want to encourage people to go to public schools, it should be by making them better, not by forcing enrollment. I went to a public school. It worked out great but only because my school district and the people in it cared about our schools enough to pay teachers well, invest in the schools, and make sure we schoolkids did our homework.

Richard Reinders

Competition makes for better outcomes.

Richard Reinders

Francis well said[thumbup][thumbup]

Andrew Lucero

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

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