Parents, school board members want PED to take over school district
By: Jackie Kent
Posted: Mar 02, 2018 06:37 PM MST
Updated: Mar 06, 2018 11:20 AM MST
OJO CALIENTE, N.M. (KRQE) - Parents and school board members in a northern New Mexico school district are asking the state to take over what they’re calling a mismanaged district.
They say it could be facing more than just budget problems.
“They are not putting the education of the children of this district first,” a parent said.
Dozens of concerned parents from Mesa Vista Schools say the district will crumble soon if the state doesn’t intervene, starting with the school board.
“The board has mismanaged our budget and are currently seeking $340,000 in emergency funding,” the parent said.
“We have been unsuccessful as a school board. We have not done any good for our children,” Mesa Vista School District board member John Garcia said.
Garcia says a majority of the five-person school board has created an environment of intimidation.
“The majority of our school board just recently put our superintendent who was doing an excellent job on administrative leave,” he said.
It’s unclear why. One parent who wished to remain anonymous says three other administrators have resigned because of harassment from board members.
The Public Education Department sent a letter to the district acknowledging it has been made aware of allegations of inappropriate behavior.
Among the complaints, “harassment, intimidation, and/or threats of retaliation against district personnel by board members.”
One staff member says it’s that harassment that gave her no choice but to put in her resignation after 15 years with the district.
“I took it upon myself to do that because it was just very emotionally gauging for me to be working there and it was affecting my health,” Student Services Director Monique Garcia said.
Another board member, Andy Lopez, says the district is bankrupt. Yet, the Interim Superintendent Elaine Romero, “continues to pay increased salaries for these new hires that are being pushed upon us.”
The board has requested emergency funding from the PED.
“I would like to see PED come in and suspend the board in its entirety,” a parent said.
When asked for a response, School Board Vice President Kisha Maestas says she’s confident in Elaine Romero’s ability as interim superintendent, but did not comment on the harassment allegations against select board members.