New Education Department rules to make it harder for school boards to defend themselves against replacement (Comment Now!)

Were you appalled by the efforts of Gov. Lujan Grisham and her Secretary of Education to replace the entire Floyd, NM school board for having the temerity to stand up in opposition to her school mask mandate? I was.

The Floyd issue is tied up in court, but quietly, the PED is proposing some rule changes to make it  more difficult for local shool boards to defend themselves against the PED by limiting the types of attorneys they can use to defend themselves and forcing school board members to pay for them by themselves (as opposed to the district).

You can download the proposed rule on this issue here.

PED is NOW accepting public comments and will do so until November 12, 2021 at 5 p.m. (MDT). There will be a public hearing  Friday, November 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (MDT) at Mabry Hall in Santa Fe.

All written rule feedback should be submitted to:

  • Fax505-827-6520
  • Mail: Policy Division, Public Education Department, 300 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe, NM 87501

Below is a brief discussion of some of the important changes PED is requesting. The proposed rule is: 6.30.6 NMAC, Suspension of Authority of a Local School Board:

  1. The proposed rule makes it explicitly clear that while a local school board  member has a right to counsel, the school board member must use a legal counsel that is independent of the local school board’s counsel.  The current rule only says a local school board member has a right to counsel, no restrictions are provided.
  2. Similarly, the proposed rule states that a local school board member must pay their own expenses related to their hearing defense and that the local school districts shall not pay for such expenses.  The current rule makes no reference as to who should or should not pay the legal expenses.  (I cannot recall if the Floyd school members paid for their own legal costs or if the local school district paid.)