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Española schools superintendent submits corrective action plan

Caleb James
March 13, 2017 10:12 PM

He had a huge homework assignment and 30 days to do it: Española Public Schools Superintendent Eric Martinez turned in his plan to address financial mismanagement, unlicensed teachers and bullying in his district on Wednesday.

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The last time the Public Education Department asked Martinez to outline how he'll fix district issues, he wrote a letter disputing their concerns instead. He was threatened with losing his license and given one more chance. This plan seems to be a 180-degree turnaround.

In November, PED took over the district's messy finances -- unbalanced accounts date back years and contract laws were maneuvered to award them without competition according to investigators. The state demanded a plan; Martinez offered only disputes in late December.

Martinez turned in the updated plan minutes after the March 8, 5 p.m. deadline. There is no indication yet from PED whether that disqualifies the plan completely.

In the 11-page plan, Martinez acknowledges bullying and intimidation at the district. A training program will launch to "prevent and eventually eliminate intimidation and bullying in the school setting." A requirement: "All staff engaged in scheduled training will be expected to report every incident of bullying and intimidation to their supervisor or the Superintendent. This will allow the person reporting the incident to remain confidential."

The district's mismanagement scandal was first exposed nearly a year ago when the basketball coach found himself the center of an abuse investigation. Martinez was accused of allowing the coach's associates to intimidate juvenile witnesses in the case on school grounds. What's in his plan? "Require every coach to provide a list of every adult assisting with the program prior to the start of the program."

Some of the plan's changes could be considered rudimentary, like a requirement stating "The Human Resources Department shall ensure every employee of the EPSD has processed through HR and completed the background check process."

The district will boost recruitment efforts to ensure all teachers have licenses after PED identified many without them.

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Caleb James

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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