54 YEARS OF DEVOTION AND DEDICATION TO PUBLIC EDUCATION
Fernando has been a tireless community leader and a strong advocate for better education for all children for 54 years. He has never failed to show up and stand up for children from working class communities when it counts. As a son of a Mexican mother and Mexican-American father, Fernando has lobbied hundreds of Nevada politicians to make sure that children of District D community are not forgotten. Fernando is running for office because, post Covid, he sees that our public school system is failing all children, and especially 60,000 children of District D. The 76 schools in District D have received very little attention from CCSD leadership, and they are seldom visited by anyone who works in CCSD central office. Public schools will improve only when parents, teachers, and children’s voices are heard
Fernando has made his home in Las Vegas and raised his four children in East Las Vegas, who all went to CCSD schools. His youngest son, Erick, is graduating from East Career Technical Academy this year. Fernando has seen first-hand how our community has changed, and understands the schools (Title 1), 73% African American, Latina/o, Native American, and Asian Pacific Islander. Fernando knows that the newly redistricted District D requires a Trustee who will be an outspoken advocate for educational equity and equality, and work hard to see that the 76 schools get staffing and resources that children deserve. He has watched year after year District D schools neglected, children forced to drink from dirty water fountains, teachers operating in overcrowded classrooms where air does not circulate. Post Covid, District D continues to have very high number of teacher vacancies. Without trained, caring adults, schools cannot be safe, children cannot learn their subjects, students cannot connect to those who can guide them. Fernando is a proven leader who can work with other Trustees to re-orient how CCSD operates. For Fernando, it is NOT OK that CCSD has neglected the children of District D, and this community has gotten a lot less than what children deserve and need.
VIOLENCE IN OUR SCHOOLS MUST BE SOLVED
School safety must be CCSD’s number one priority. Fernando recognizes that return to pre-Covid normalcy will take time. Children were out of school almost two years and this has deeply impacted this generation. When school children returned, they did not receive enough support. Yet, CCSD Trustees had access to resources, a generous grant of $1.2 billion from federal American Recovery Plan (ARP). As a result, CCSD has never seen the level of violence it is experiencing, which ranges from bullying on social media, assaults in bathrooms, guns in schools, shootings in parking lots, teachers suffering batteries from their students, and even an attempted rape.
Fernando will bring to this challenge his experience as a community problem-solver and his deep connections to other community leaders who are also deeply concerned and can be called upon to help. Fernando will work to make sure that CCSD directs its federal ARP monies to provide more adults to be able to develop relationships with students in crisis to prevent future violence. Having served on Las Vegas Metro Police Department’s Multicultural Advisory Council for over 20 years, Fernando knows that schools can be hubs where law enforcement works jointly with community to increase safety. Fernando agrees with students that more pepper spray is not a solution. Instead, he will work for greater support for school principals and teachers through collaborations with law enforcement at every school, and greater community presence in all District D schools. For those students who are affiliated with gangs, bring weapons to schools an assault school staff, Fernando supports stringent measures and procedures.
Fernando Romero knows that greater parent participation in our schools is part of the solution to school violence. District D parents do not feel welcome by CCSD for many reasons. As Trustee and a member of the District D community, Fernando will work tirelessly to ensure that each school improves parental outreach. When parents become more involved, students are more accountable, involve themselves deeper in their schoolwork, attend school regularly, and participate in extracurricular activities. Fernando also knows that CCSD must do a better job of connecting families to community service resources and schools should be the place for these connections.
TEACHERS NEED OUR RESPECT AND SUPPORT, FIRST AND FOREMOST
This year, Fernando will celebrate his wife María’s graduation from UNLV as a teacher. María will begin her new career in an elementary school much like District D’s. He understands that teachers must be treated as professionals and work in environments where they are respected and provided the resources to make their classroom challenging learning environments. Fernando wants to end CCSD’s culture where teachers do not feel heard, and restructure operational decision makings so teachers have an important say about working conditions. Fernando knows that our teachers must be treated with much R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Fernando further believes that CCSD’s shortage of teachers must be addressed by the CCSD Superintendent and School Trustees with increased vigor. CCSD cannot reopen in 2022-2023 with over 1500 teacher vacancies. Other large school districts are solving this problem, including by reassuring central school staff to classrooms. CCSD has had retention committees in the past, but none has been made up of a majority of teachers. It is time to ask teachers what they need to stay in this most honored profession.
All Trustees must work with CCSD Government Relations Operatives and CCSD unions to lobby legislators to raise teachers’ pay substantially by enduring that Cannabis, Mining, Gaming, big business, and others’ tax dollars are directly channeled to our Public Education system for the purpose of fairly compensating our teachers.
COMPLIANCE WITH AB469
Because Fernando is a caring leader, he has become a member of three School Organization Teams (SOTs): Erick’s high school East Career Technical Academy, one of four CCSD Career Technical schools, Global Community High School, dedicated to serve refugees and teen newcomers who do not speak English; and Rancho High School, located in the heart of the Latino community. These past four years of SOT leadership has convinced Fernando that CCSD needs to work harder to be in compliance with Reorganization of school district under Assembly Bill 469. As stated in the Preface of the CCSD 2018 Plan for the Implementation of Actions to Finalize Compliance with Assembly Bill 469, “Schools are at the center of all of our efforts. We are empowering schools with resources and decision-making authority to meet the individual needs of students, and in return aligning accountability and support for accelerating student outcomes with schools. Our role is clear: ensure high standards for performance, empower and support educators, and ensure equitable access and meaningful accountability that is focused on progress on student learning, every day, in every classroom.”
School Organization Teams must be allowed the authority that AB4469 allows them:
- Authority to select school staff
- Assignment of central staff to schools
- Allocation funds to schools
- Purchase of equipment, services, and supplies available that meet the needs of their schools
- School carry-forward of year-end balance maintained and be able to spend based on site-based needs
- Weighed per-pupil funding
STRENGTHENING NEW COMER AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNER EDUCATION
About one in three students in District D are English Language Learners (ELLs). CCSD has had spotty success with the education of ELLs, and currently his student groups is struggling, with 95% not reading at proficiency in K-5, and graduation rates having dropped by 13 points since 2017 to the present. Fernando knows that it behooves the Superintendent and the Board of Trustees to allocate more funds into ELL and new comer programs to enhance the education level of all students. Global Community High Schools, a newcomer school, is where students of high school age from all corners of the world are welcome by a caring staff who, even with minimal resources, are expertly taught to read, write, and speak the English language in a relatively short period of time. It is Fernando’s intent to direct more time, funds, and attention to Global C.H.S. to where it is recognized as an exemplary school.
NO VOUCHERS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Fernando believes that private school vouchers redirect public money to private institutions. The vast majority of children do not have access to quality private schools in their own neighborhood. At this time, they undermine the fundamental promise of a high-quality, equitable education for all students, as private schools often discriminate based on factors such as religion, fluency in English, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Vouchers also drain resources from public schools, which are not only required to serve all students, but are also vital community hubs and local units of democratic government.