Judge approves $350,000 buyout for ex-APS superintendent

Updated: 08/29/2014 6:46 PM | Created: 08/29/2014 8:24 AM
By: Nikki Ibarra and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A district court judge approved a $350,000 buyout for former Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks.

At a hearing Friday morning, the judge said the settlement was in the interest of both APS and the public.

APS board member Marty Esquivel testified that Brooks' remaining contract was worth more than $600,000. He said litigation would cost the district millions.

Two weeks ago, Brooks submitted his resignation to the APS school board. The district already agreed to the buyout in the resignation agreement.

Although a judge signed the agreement, the state's Public Education Department will also still need to approve the amount.

A letter sent to Brooks' attorney, Maureen Sanders, and APS's attorney, Tony Ortiz, by the Public Education Department's Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera said APS "has adequate budget to pay for the settlement and it does not appear that the settlement will disrupt the education of students or have any adverse effect on the educational processes in the district."

The letter went on to say it is "aware that concerns have been raised about the confidentiality of an investigative report commissioned by the APS School Board, but notes that Judge Huling said [Friday] that this specific issue could be addressed in a future case and the district's decision to protect the report from disclosure could be overturned."

Skandera's letter ended in saying she approved the settlement agreement between APS and Brooks.

It's still not clear why Brooks resigned. The board said he was under investigation for a "serious personnel issue" but did not elaborate.

Back in November, the APS board suspended Brooks for three days over some controversial tweets he posted about PED Secretary Hanna Skandera.

Two former members of Sandia High School's administration also filed a lawsuit claiming Brooks discriminated and retaliated against them.

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