NMPED details next steps in Floyd school board suspension case

SANTA FE, N.M. — One day after the NM Public Education Department suspended the Floyd school board for not complying with NMPED’s mask guidelines and COVID-19 protocols, the NMPED announced their plans for the district.

Floyd Superintendent Damon Terry, who did not agree with the school board’s decision, will be in charge of the district’s day-to-day operations. Terry will report to NMPED Secretary Ryan Stewart until further notice as Stewart assigns supervisory responsibility to others.

The suspended school board members will receive a hearing as soon as possible, which may be in 60 calendar days. However, the members are not required to request one.

NMPED will appoint a hearing officer to schedule and conduct the hearing, using a process as follows:

  • The hearing may take one day or longer, depending on the number of witnesses, documents and issues raised.
  • The department and the suspended board members may give an opening statement of approximately 20 minutes.
  • The department will present its witnesses first, followed by school board witnesses.
  • Witnesses are sworn in and may testify specifically on the causes stated in the order of suspension.
  • Witnesses may testify if they have personal knowledge of the facts regarding the causes stated in the order of suspension.
  • The hearing officer may establish parameters for the testimony of witnesses and may exclude any testimony that is repetitive or not relevant to the causes leading to the order of suspension or the reasons set forth by the board for opposing the suspension.
  • The department and the school board have the right to cross-examine witnesses.
  • The rules of evidence and rules of civil procedure do not apply to the hearing.
  • The parties may give a short closing argument.
  • The court reporter will produce a complete legal transcript of the hearing proceedings and witnesses’ testimonies

The hearing officer will submit a fact-finding report to the NMPED Secretary within two business days after the hearing. Within five business days, the Secretary will either modify or withdraw the suspension or make it permanent.

The board may appeal the secretary’s decision to the District Court.