The lingering controversy over proposed housing assistance for Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Jesús Rodríguez shines a spotlight on the importance of our work and the need for continued involvement to ensure that our voices are heard and our communities are represented.
Alan Muñoz of Voces Unidas was part of the superintendent housing committee that recently presented the Roaring Fork School Board with three solid recommendations for future superintendent housing policy. While the board has yet to act on those options, Alan’s presence as one of only two Latino members of the 14-person committee serves as a real-time example of how our community is not being represented in district committees or spaces. In a district where nearly 60% of the students are Latino, it speaks loudly to the lack of engagement the district is making with the Latino community.
More pointedly, it speaks to the need for change.
We are all aware of the housing struggles for working families in the Roaring Fork Valley. And it should go without saying that affordable housing options are a requirement for attracting and retaining the best candidates for district superintendent, teachers, and all the other important staff that goes into providing the best education possible for local students.
But what all too often also goes unsaid is that the Latino community has been historically shut out of processes like this one that have a significant impact on the district in which we are the majority. The district is not creating an environment that is particularly welcoming or easily accessible to Latino parents, and when the majority of the community is left out of the process, the outcome rarely reflects our vision for our school district.
Voces Unidas will continue to hold the Roaring Fork School District accountable for establishing a more welcoming environment and opportunities for representation in leadership roles that better reflect the makeup of the district. We want to see more representative diversity in committees, leadership roles, and on the school board – where three of the five current board members are up for reelection this fall.
The election this fall will have a direct impact on the education of our children and the future of our community. With the prospect of a brand-new school board, it is crucial that we find strong candidates who represent us, that we come out to vote, and that we make our voices heard. By electing officials who understand our unique challenges and can work to create policies that benefit our community, we can ensure that our children receive the education they deserve and that our communities thrive.
At all levels of the school district, our community needs to be represented in a meaningful way. Our vote is our power, and we must use it to make a difference.