Budget issues have prompted big disagreements between the two candidates for state superintendent of schools in the KTVB debate tonight.
Asked if they support current Superintendent Tom Luna’s proposal for a 6.9 percent increase in funding for schools next year, Republican Sherri Ybarra said, “Until I know exactly where every dime is going it makes no sense to ask for more.”
Surprised moderator Dee Sarton asked if Ybarra was advocating for no increase for schools in next year’s budget. Ybarra then said she’s support current Superintendent Tom Luna’s budget. “The budget that is already being prepared is the one that if elected I will actually take on,” Ybarra responded. “It is a step in the right direction.”
Jones said, “No, it would not be the budget that I would be proposing. … There’s only $10 million that is currently proposed in that budget, from what I can understand, from the way it’s written, that will go to getting us back to that restoration of funding that is the No. 1 recommendation in the governor’s task force,” she said. “So we need to look at that budget very closely. We need to remove some of the ties that are in that budget. … It hamstrings those districts very closely. It says you can only use your funding for these specific things. We need to take that budget, remove those strings where we can, and make sure that we’re advocating for as much money as possible for our schools. Our schools need to be the No. 1 priority.”
When Sarton asked Jones what percentage increase she’d favor, Jones said, “I have been waiting to see what the ... revenue projections would be. … We need to make sure that we take advantage of what resources the state has.”
Ybarra, in response to a question about her political philosophy, said, “We need somebody that’s a conservative leader that knows stretching the dollar and living within your means is the way you move forward.”