Filing deadline for college board seats nears

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The upcoming San Juan College Board election will have two seats up for contention, and both incumbents plan on running for re-election.

Matthew Tso

An election is scheduled for March 7 to elect members of the college board to represent districts 1 and 5 for a six-year term starting April 1.

The District 1 seat is currently occupied by Matthew Tso, and board Vice Chairman John Thompson is the representative for District 5.

Both board members are completing their first term after being elected to their seat during a March 1, 2011, election.

Thompson was sworn in on July 6, 2010, to fill the seat vacated by Craig Walling, according to The Daily Times archives.

District 1 takes up western portions of San Juan County, including Shiprock. District 5 is located in the part of the county around Farmington and includes parts of Crouch Mesa.

Thompson said the college has been going through a lot recently, and he wants to continue to support its mission.

John C. Thompson

“San Juan College is the crown jewel of San Juan County,” Thompson said.

The college is dealing with multiple reductions in state funding this year and is projecting another cut for the upcoming school year. San Juan College lost approximately 7 percent, or about $1.83 million, of its state funding for 2016.

Board members recently approved a $1.14 million budget cut in December that included laying off 12 college employees.

College officials are projecting a reduction of about $1.15 million in state funding for the 2017-2018 school year.

Thompson said it is a honor being part of something that changes people’s lives and helps the community.

Tso said he plans to continue working tomake the college’s tuition and fees affordable for students.

“I think the college has been able to ensure (tuition) is affordable, as others have dramatically increased tuition,” Tso said.

One item Tso would push is investigating how San Juan College’s alternative licensure program can be supported to help get more teachers into county classrooms. The program helps license people interested in teaching who have a bachelor’s degree but might not have a teaching degree.

Declarations of candidacy must be filed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18 with the San Juan County clerk at the county administration building at 100 S. Oliver Drive in Aztec.

The declarations of intent to be a write-in candidate must be filed before 5 p.m. on Friday Jan. 21 at the County Clerk’s Office.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and jkellogg@daily-times.com.