LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – The state has suspended the whole Los Lunas school board amid a long list of serious allegations that include attempted extortion, bribery and nepotism. The Public Education Department made the rare, extreme move painting the picture of an out-of-control school board.
Los Lunas Schools Superintendent Dr. Arsenio Romero would not address any specific allegations made against the board. He did say the state auditor and attorney general have been investigating the board since before he started his new position six months ago. “State police have been working in conjunction with these oversight agencies through their investigation,” Dr. Romero stated.
News 13 asked the state auditor and AG for specifics and the possibility of criminal charges, but have not yet heard back. But, a letter sent from the PED to the Los Lunas school board addresses a long list of possible violations of board policy and the public school code. Board members are accused of demanding family members be hired; interfering with the superintendent and other staff; and urging an employee to lie about a supervisor.
They’re also accused of falsifying allegations about financial misconduct happening at the admin level; trying to extort school staff through intimidation and threats; and demanding the demotion, suspension or firing of school personnel. And a bombshell: allegedly leaking bid info to potential vendors and suggesting to vendors they’d get contracts if they’d “personally enrich a board member.”
Dr. Romero will now have to report directly to PED Secretary Dr. Ryan Stewart. “Despite this, the work of the Los Lunas school board and the district is going to move forward,” Dr. Stewart explained. “We’re going to make sure that operations continue, students are cared for and that planning continues.”
The PED first warned the board of the allegations back in November, and even gave training in January and March about and the rules. Still, the PED said unnamed board members kept breaking the law. News 13 is also waiting for a response from school board president Eloy Giron about the allegations.