On Tuesday night (Nov. 12), New Mexico Secretary of Public Education Ryan Stewart suspended the board of the Questa Independent School District, prompting cancellation of the evening's special board meeting.
In a letter addressed to Board President Daryl Ortega, Secretary Stewart cited three major deficiencies, among others as reasons for the suspension – instability of leadership; noncompliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and violations of the Open Meetings Act.
Taos News has obtained a photograph copy of the letter (see accompanying image).
Until Jan. 1, the letter stated, the Public Education Department will serve as the school board. At that time, newly elected members Juan Cisneros and Rebecca Griego will take their seats on the board, replacing Ortega and board member Ellis Garcia.
The New Mexico Attorney General ordered Garcia to resign his position on Oct. 23 because of a 1992 felony conviction that recently came to light. New Mexico law prohibits convicted felons from serving in an elected office unless they've received a pardon or certificate restoring their full constitutional rights from the governor.
Garcia was given 14 days (until Nov. 6) to vacate the office but has challenged the attorney general's order, claiming that because he fulfilled the terms of a deferred sentence, he is eligible to serve.
This is a developing story. Check back at taosnews.com for updates.
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