Minutes May 2, 2023 Regular Meeting

Minutes May 2, 2023 Regular Meeting
Posted on 05/24/2023
MAY 2, 2023


Ms. Garcia called the Los Lunas Schools Board of Education meeting to order at 6:02 pm.

Ms. Garcia welcomed those who were participating in the board meeting in person and those watching the board meeting via livestream on YouTube. Ms. Garcia added that, as a reminder, the link to the meeting was on the District’s webpage, under the Board of Education page. She added that the streaming would run through the end of the meeting, and, in the event there was a disruption in the audio portion, she would pause the meeting until it was reestablished.

LLS BOE Members Present:
Tina Garcia, President
P. David Vickers, Vice President
Bruce Bennett, Secretary
Bryan C. Smith, Member
Eloy Giron, Member
Administrators Present: Dr. Deborah Elder, Interim Superintendent
Brian Baca, Deputy Superintendent
Susan Chavez, Chief Student Services Officer
Andrew Saiz, Chief Personnel Officer
Sandy Traczyk, Chief Finance Officer
Alicia Himes, Interim Chief Academic Officer
Cathy Chavez, Dir. of Special Programs
William Hays, Dir. of Educational Technology
Jessica Montano, Dir. of Secondary Learning Innovations
Dr. Natalie Saiz, Dir. of Support Services
Elena Trodden, Dir. of Language Learning Innovations
Clair Toledo Principal, Century High School
Teri Gough, Asst. Principal, Katherine Gallegos Elementary
Matt Pendrak, Asst. Principal, Los Lunas Elementary

Others Present: Felina Martinez, Valencia County News Bulletin
Mary Ann Chavez, NEA LL
Approximately Ten (10) additional individuals were in attendance.
Approximately 33 individuals watched via live streaming.


Ms. Garcia asked Dr. Elder to announce the meeting. Dr. Elder reported the meeting had been announced in accordance with the LLS Open Meetings Resolution, and, it was a legally constituted meeting of the Los Lunas Schools Board of Education.


Katherine Gallegos Assistant Principal, Teri Gough, led the audience in the Pledge.


Ms. Garcia asked Dr. Elder if there were any changes or deletions to the agenda. There being none, she called for a motion regarding the agenda.
Mr. Bennett moved, and Mr. Vickers seconded, to approve the agenda as presented.
Ms. Garcia stated that they had a motion by Mr. Bennett, and a second by Mr. Vickers, to approve the agenda as presented.

Ms. Garcia asked if there was any discussion before she called for a vote.
There being none, Ms. Garcia called for a vote with the following results: Eloy Giron – yes; Bruce Bennett – yes; P. David Vickers – yes; Bryan C. Smith – yes; and Tina Garcia – yes. The motion to approve the agenda as presented passed: 5/0.
5. PUBLIC COMMENT (Per LLS BoE Board Policy B-2150)

Ms. Garcia announced that there were three individuals who had requested to address the Board: Ms. Heather Rindels and Ms. Rowena Tachias.

NOTE: Ms. Rindels submitted her written comments for the official record. Her statement was added to the official minute book. - ksw

Ms. Heather Rindels

Ms. Rindels said she was there to speak in regard to the legislative leave policy. The question had been asked how having a school employee serving in public office helps a student in the classroom. She had not heard an answer to that question yet; she was hoping that she could offer the 28 million-dollar answer.

There were benefits of having someone that had served on the front lines in education as a public official:

That person could advocate for funding for school districts which can serve many purposes, such as: facility maintenance; the K-12 plus program (HB130), classroom supplies, elementary literacy materials that align to the science of reading (HB 481); higher wages for teachers and support staff which also helped with retainage (HB127); funding for school resource officers including supplies and infrastructure to keep our students and staff safe; transportation; technology also known as digital equity (HB 401); free breakfast and lunch for students (SB 4); funding for at-risk students (HB 199)

Ms. Rindels stated that person currently continued to foster relationship between the local police, fire and emergency service departments to prepare for a crisis that they hoped would never happen.

That person was also a direct line for school administrators and parents to ask questions about current legislation that affected our school district, which, in turn, affected our students.
5. PUBLIC COMMENT (Per LLS BoE Board Policy B-2150) (Continued)

Ms. Heather Rindels (Cont.)

Just like with jury duty, a public official was serving the public. It wasn’t known if the trial would take one week or six months but a school employee serving as a juror, continued to serve and get paid leave.
Whether it's Representative Baca or another school employee that decided to run for office in the future, it's important to have someone that could advocate for our school district, as well as, districts across the state. She thought they would agree that based on the items she’d mentioned the return on investment more than paid for itself.
Ms. Rowena Tachias

Ms. Tachias stated she was there to talk about the adoption of the NMSBA handbook that they all did at their last board meeting. She said she couldn’t reference it. She couldn’t see it. She couldn’t find it. So it came up that day - something - a concern came up.

It was actually a letter from the district’s legal counsel. It was a quote where she could not reference it. It said it was the practice of the Los Lunas Schools and their employees to delete texts as received or very soon thereafter. The statement was a very real public concern. As she interpreted the statement, a teacher, a coach, administrator, bus driver could easily engage in text messaging with a student or another staff member and could essentially delete all evidence.
Ms. Tachias said she tried to look up the policy on the district web site but it's under construction. So, she had no way to reference the policy regarding employee's use of cellular devices, whether district or personal. That was the first she’d ever heard of that. If the student told their parent that something had happened, their counsel had basically said those texts were unavailable.

5. PUBLIC COMMENT (Per LLS BoE Board Policy B-2150) (Continued)

Ms. Rowena Tachias (Cont.)

Again, there was a statement from their legal counsel that said text messages were not public record. By whose authority? Where was that written? She needed to see that. All of her research had shown it was a false statement according to the former Attorney General Hector Balderas. New Mexico FOG, the foundation of open government, said clearly on their web site that text messages were public records.

Ms. Tachias stated that was a prime example of the policy manual not being available to the public for reference. That was what she was talking about in her last public statement in their last meeting. She would like the public to have immediate access to the policy manual in its entirety. She wanted to be able to reference the policy when she needed it such as she did that day. Both speakers were thanked for their comments.


A. Introduction and Overview: Mr. Kennedy

Ms. Garcia stated that the next item on the agenda, was a discussion regarding the New Mexico School Boards Policy Manual. She stated for the record that Mr. Kennedy was not going to be present with them. He had a personal emergency and was not able to attend.
They had reserved time with him for tonight's meeting and up until about late early this afternoon they found out he would not be here today. So, they didn’t have an introduction and an overview that they could provide to the that night with the direction of Mr. Kennedy.


A. Introduction and Overview: Mr. Kennedy (Cont.)

Mr. Kennedy had indicated that he would be willing to come to their next meeting. They still had plenty of time to put that on the agenda if they decided to do that then or if they want to wait until their first meeting in June. She would leave that up to the board to maybe hash that out and see what they would like to see, but again, he was not going to be present at the meeting.

B. Next Steps

Ms. Garcia stated that they had in front of them a form that Dr. Elder had produced as to how they might want to proceed going step by step going through sections of the policy, with a timeline as to how they could approve them in a timely manner. In a conversation, again with Mr. Kennedy, he had recommend that at the bottom of the page it had some kind of amended date or review date at the bottom of each section that when they approved it. It could be identified that the Board had reviewed it, made adjustments to it if necessary, and of course, make that part of our policy manual for finalization.

They also needed to decide what would be a good procedure for making changes, making updates, that kind of stuff. She said she thought she liked to start with the next steps and asked Dr. Elder to cover what she was looking at, let the board then go into conversation or discussion about what they visualized, and then they could see if they could come to some happy medium as to how that might work.

Dr. Elder gave a comprehensive overview of the chart she had designed to be a month period as they worked on sections of the policy manual.. They needed to do several different things including board review, community review staff review, and culminate with discussion with Mr. Kennedy to recommend any changes. Some would take longer than others and with the plan it place she felt they could get through fairly quickly.


A. Next Steps (Cont.)

Dr. Elder was asked for comment as to why the policies weren’t on the webpage. It was there intent that it be done and it was not.

Dr. Elder stated they started to work on it the day after the last meeting. She said they were waiting to receive the policies in web format (ADA Compliant). She added that they would get just the policies without the regulations and the exhibits, and an index. She noted that the Board was in charge of the policies, but the regulations and exhibits were administrative in nature. Once those were separated, and an index sent to them, they could post it.

Dr. Elder stated that she recognized that it had put them in a difficult situation. They wanted to be able to have everything transparent and available for our community immediately. She had been in contact with NMSBA that day to discuss the issue.

Dr. Elder was asked if they’d given her any guidance of when and where they thought they could it accomplished, to which she said they hadn’t given her a specific date but they were working on it.

Extensive discussion ensued regarding the proposal that Dr. Elder had provided including the timeframe of reviewing, who the comments and suggestions should be funneled through, how those would look - if they wanted them color-coded to determine which group made the suggestions, who the reviewers would include, and the need to consider compressing the timeframe that Dr. Elder had suggested, and whether they wanted skip the May 23rd meeting and move it to the June meeting.

Further discussion ensued regarding have a head of the committee as a whole to collect the suggested changes, compile them, and share with Mr. Kennedy and the board members. Ms. Garcia confirmed with Mr. Smith that he would be willing to take on that role, as well as, how that would be handled.

C. Review of Section A. Foundations and Basic Commitments

This item was not discussed as Mr. Kennedy was not in attendance. – ksw

D. Procedures for Urgent Policy-Related Matters

Extensive discussion regarding the determinations of what constituted urgency, as well as, the procedures and on how to handle urgent policy-related matters. Ms. Garcia stated that she first wanted reiterate they knew that the policies currently adopted weren’t perfect, but they were statutorily legal by the State of New Mexico.

Second, Dr. Elder, would look at policies and if there was a red flag that they needed to know about she could bring that to the Board at any point and it could be put on the board agenda immediately and they would supersede whatever their agenda might say because they wanted to address those red flags.

Further discussion ensued regarding some of the policies that needed to be addressed right away. Mr. Bennet stated that there were several policies he knew of including the catastrophic leave police, financial changes that had been made last year, Marching Band and ROTC for PE credit.

Ms. Garcia added that she also understood that as the superintendent, Dr. Elder could make that call, and if needed could make changes to the policies if there were issues that needed to be addressed right away, and/or when policies and handbooks were not in alignment.

Mr. Bennett interjected and said that Ms. Garcia was correct. Policy C2200, found on page 154 of the new policy handbook, did give the superintendent that authority and she could make adjustments to the policies if needed.

Dr. Elder stated that there might indeed be some conflict as they reviewed the recently adopted policies as a whole. If there was misalignment she wanted to make it clear that she would make determinations and changes that were reasonable and legal should that occur.


D. Procedures for Urgent Policy-Related Matters (Continued)

At Mr. Smith’s request, Dr. Elder repeated that if there was misalignment she would make determinations that were reasonable and legal as allowed under Policy C2200.

Mr. Smith led discussion regarding her statement during which he stated that if there were changes that they needed to make, he’d like to get them to the board as soon as possible. Just because it was legal didn’t make it right thing to do.

Further discussion ensued regarding the handbook, posting the policies as soon as possible, adding the policy discussion to the May 23rd board meeting agenda.

Ms. Garcia announced that they all had their marching orders. Policies were one of the main duties of the Board and they all needed to do their due diligence and review all of the policies.

Ms. Garcia announced that items were for discussion only; no action as needed or warranted at that time.

7. APPROVAL OF PURCHASE: Tillery Chevrolet-GMC for 2023 Chevy Micro Bird Activity Bus for Transportation Dept. 11000 Operational (Purchase Date Requested Prior to Finance Committee)

Chief Finance Officer, Sandy Traczyk, explained that the District had an opportunity to purchase a 20-person mini bus. She explained that the bus had originally been ordered by another district, but that they had been unable to complete the purchase, making the bus available for our District to purchase.

When asked, she explained that it would be used for athletic and/or activity events for smaller groups and noted that at times there was only one or two people on the bus, and it would helpful. She confirmed there were funds in the budget for the cost, the cost was about half the cost of a bus we would order, and that because it was in stock, felt they could take procession much quicker than if the District ordered a new one.

7. APPROVAL OF PURCHASE: Tillery Chevrolet-GMC for 2023 Chevy Micro Bird Activity Bus for Transportation Dept. 11000 Operational (Purchase Date Requested Prior to Finance Committee) (Continued)

Mr. Giron moved and Mr. Bennett seconded, to approve Item #7. APPROVAL OF PURCHASE: Tillery Chevrolet-GMC for 2023 Chevy Micro Bird Activity Bus for Transportation Dept. 11000 Operational (Purchase Date Requested Prior to Finance Committee). There being no discussion, Ms. Garcia called for a vote regarding Item #7 with the following results: Eloy Giron – yes; Bruce Bennett – yes; P. David Vickers – yes; Bryan C. Smith - yes; and Tina Garcia – yes. Motion to approve Item #7 passed: 5/0.
8. NEW BUSINESS: Board Member Requests for Topics for Upcoming Board Work
Sessions and/or Board Meetings

Ms. Garcia noted that this item was for items board members would like to see on upcoming meetings or work sessions.

Mr. Bennet asked that they be given the daycare survey results from Ms. Chavez.

Mr. Smith requested that discussion and possible action for the board president to open up the position of superintendent, that was discussed at the last meeting, be added to the agenda.


Ms. Garcia stated that took them to Item # 9. ANNOUNCEMENT OF MEETINGS. She added that, as allowed by the NM Open Meetings Act and the District’s Open Meetings Resolution, on occasion, a quorum of the board members would attend the same function, including those held at school sites, as well as, sports functions, conferences, workshops, and trainings. Board members would refrain from discussing and/or acting on LLS Board issues in those settings. In addition, only official meetings were published, and if other meetings were scheduled, they would be announced in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.


Ms. Garcia then announced the following meetings:
• May 9, 2023 Finance Committee 3:00 pm CO Board Room
Dr. Elder requested that the May 9th special meeting be cancelled. They had not received all the forms from the PED needed for finalization of the budget. She asked that the item regarding approval of the budget be moved to the May 23rd meeting.

Ms. Garcia announced that the following meeting was cancelled:
• May 9, 2023 Special Board Meeting 6:00 pm CO Board Room Consideration of Action to Approve Budget 2023-24 FY Pending PED Approval and other Items if needed (Quorum in Attendance)

• May 23, 2023 Regular Board Meeting 6:00 pm CO Board Room
• May 30 & 31, 2023 Board/Superintendent Retreat 8:00 am – 4:30 pm UNM-Valencia, Workforce Training Center 1020 Huning Ranch East Loop Los Lunas, NM 87031 Discussion Purposes Only - No Action Taken (Quorum in Attendance)

Ms. Garcia stated that brought them to Item #10. ADJOURNMENT. She then called for a motion to adjourn the meeting.

Mr. Smith moved, and Mr. Bennett seconded, to adjourn the meeting. There being no discussion, Ms. Garcia called for a vote with the following results: Bruce Bennett – yes; Eloy Giron – yes; Bryan C. Smith – yes; P. David Vickers – yes; and Tina Garcia – yes. Motion to adjourn passed: 5-0.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:12 pm.

Approved this 23rd day of May 2023.
Tina Garcia, Board President
Bruce Bennett, Board Secretary
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