More school districts join PED lawsuit
October 28, 2020
More school districts and one charter school have joined a lawsuit against Education Secretary Ryan Stewart and the New Mexico Public Education Department.
According to joint news release Friday written by plaintiffs and attorneys, recently joining the suit are Carrizozo, Eunice, Fort Sumner, Clayton, Hondo Valley, Floyd, Mosquero, Roy and Truth or Consequences school districts, along with Mission Achievement and Success Charter Schools.
The lawsuit filed in Santa Fe District Court early October included Gallup-McKinley County Schools as the lead plaintiff, with Logan Municipal Schools joining the suit when it initially was filed. Other joining during the initial filing were Animas, Capitan, Elida, Mora, Mountainair and the Zuni school districts.
The suit alleges Stewart and the PED overstepped their legal authority in imposing COVID-19 restrictions on school districts and violated federal law in reducing funding in the wake of districts receiving federal CARES Act money.
The lawsuit requests the voiding of any PED directives not backed by state law or constitution, it reaffirm local school boards’ and superintendents’ authority and that PED restore funding that was diverted from schools.
Logan’s school board during a special meeting voted to join the lawsuit. The agreement included a penalty-free opt-out clause and a maximum cost of no more than $1,000 to the district.
The Logan motion to join the suit included “an assurance that Logan Municipal Schools not be portrayed as critical of the content of the rules as much as the process by which they were improperly promulgated.”
The lawsuit was filed by Andrew Sanchez of the Himes, Petrarca & Fester law firm of Albuquerque.