Length of hearing probably means 2-day confirmation process
Sen. Linda Lopez, chairwoman of the Rules Committee, said in an interview that she expected a two-day process because the list of those testifying would be unusually long.
Lopez, D-Albuquerque, said her committee would listen to public comments for or against Skandera, right, starting Friday. Lopez said she expected Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration to marshal backers of Skandera, and hearing out everyone would take much of the day.
A positive or negative recommendation on Skandera’s nomination in the 10-member Rules Committee would send her before the full 42-member Senate for the deciding vote, said Sen. Michael Sanchez, the majority leader from Belen. Only a tie in the committee would stop a vote by the full Senate, he said.
Should that happen, Skandera would remain as the unconfirmed secretary-designate of public education, he said.
But if Skandera’s confirmation goes to a floor vote, Lopez predicted that would happen Saturday.
Skandera, 39, has been running the state Public Education Department for more than two years while awaiting a confirmation hearing.
Lopez said she did not intentionally delay a hearing for Skandera.
Lopez did not schedule a hearing during the 60-day session of 2011 or the 30-day session last year. Given all the other committee business, she said, she simply could not accommodate a time-consuming confirmation hearing involving Skandera.
Surefire criticism of Skandera will be that she has never been a classroom teacher or a principal.
Sonya Romero, a kindergarten teacher at Lew Wallace Elementary School in Albuquerque, said Skandera did not understand the challenges and demands that teachers face each day.
Romero has come to know Skandera as a member of a 21-member state committee working on teacher evaluation policies. Romero said she would speak in opposition to Skandera’s confirmation.
“I think she’s a very pleasant person and articulate. Her policies are not in the best interest of schools,” Romero said.
Skandera’s public education experience includes service as deputy chief of staff to former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and positions in the state education departments of California and Florida.