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Gallegos ‘deeply troubled’ by Floyd school ruling

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SANTA FE — Last week, the entire Floyd School Board was suspended by the N.M. Public Education Department for asserting its authority over school health policies in their district.

This week, PED announced that former Las Cruces Superintendent Stand Rounds will serve in their place until further notice. PED Secretary Ryan Stewart said Rounds, who has served as superintendent in four New Mexico school districts including Hobbs Municipal Schools, now has the legal authority, the rights and the responsibilities of any New Mexico school board member to govern the small Floyd district in Roosevelt County.

Sen. David Gallegos, R-Eunice, a Eunice school board member and outspoken advocate for local control, issued the following statement regarding Rounds’ appointment:

“Mr. Rounds is an honorable man and a gifted educator. However, I am deeply troubled that a duly-elected school board can be removed without statutory standing and replaced with an unelected individual with no association or stake in the district. The appointment of Mr. Rounds, who lives in Las Cruces and serves as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Superintendents’ Association, demonstrates that PED has no interest in respecting the right of parents and students in Floyd.

“I hope the Floyd School Board is swiftly reinstated with full authority so they can return to serving the needs of their community.”

Stewart suspended the five-member Floyd board Aug. 4 after it twice voted to not follow the Public Education Department’s COVID-19 Safe Practices for school reentry and then placed on administrative leave the superintendent who refused to carry out the board’s wishes.

Stewart reinstated Floyd Superintendent Damon Terry the same day he suspended the Floyd board. Terry, who has been reporting directly to Stewart, will now report to Rounds.

Rounds is the executive director of the New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders. He spent 27 years in the superintendent’s role, first in Des Moines, N.M., which is about the same size as Floyd. Later, he became superintendent in Alamogordo, Hobbs and Las Cruces with a stint at the Public Education Department.

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