Melvin Capitan, Jr. has served thirteen years on the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a facility manager of 13 schools.
He was tasked with overseeing the schools’ operations and examining their educational profiles. Currently, he is a consulting project manager at Montezuma Well Service and formerly worked as a geologist and hydrologist.
Capitan has, for many years, observed the actions of the school board and is involved in public education with his wife, who is a teacher. He says he wanted to run for school board because he hoped to improve the stagnant conditions of the school district. He is an alumnus of Whitehorse High School.
“A teacher spends more time beyond their yearly contract and working beyond hours,” he said, citing his personal observations about the school district. “They’re buying their own school
supplies … and spending more on their own classrooms than what the district can pay for.”
Capitan acknowledges that some teachers might be afraid to bring up these issues to the school board or school administrators, since they have to face contract renewal. He also highlighted the disparity in resources that schools in his district face, compared to schools in Blanding and Monticello.
“They have hand-me-down school buses down here,” he said. “I understand we’re Native Americans, and we’re being used as statistics to bring in funding that is allocated. Do we receive any of it down here? No we don’t.”
Capitan encourages them to be forward-thinking about the changes in the school district.
“Do they want change?” Capitan said. “They want change, they can get change. It’s been in the same thing, year to year.”