NMFOG: Public deserves answers in Brooks resignation

Winston Brooks

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s the first week of the new school year and APS has given its superintendent the boot. Winston Brooks was forced out and in exchange for his resignation, he gets a small fortune. Yet, you’ll be hard-pressed to find out what led to his ouster and that has people upset.

Sources tell News 13 the investigation that led to all this was centered around Brooks’ wife but APS still won’t confirm it.

A $250,000 a year salary, two more years left on his contract and Winston Brooks steps down to the unanimous approval of the school board.

President Analee Maestas read a joint statement, speaking for Brooks.

“The decision to end the appointed relationship will allow both the board and Brooks to establish a new direction. Both agree this decision is the best option for APS at this time,” read Maestas.

In a nine-page settlement agreement, the district agrees to pay Brooks $350,000 and another $25,000 for him to remain on sick leave until he’s gone in a month. If APS bad-mouths Brooks publicly, that’s another $25,000. Brooks would see the same fine if he says anything negative about the district.

What about the results of that private investigation? The settlement reads it’s not to be released to anyone.

“The public still has a right to know what led to this, what were the facts that led us to a situation in which the superintendent resigned and the school district had to pay a payout,” explains New Mexico Foundation for Open Government Officer Greg Williams.

Williams believes this sets a dangerous precedent.

“We think the public’s interest in the school district, in taxpayer money, outweigh any interest Mr. Brooks or the school district have in keeping it quiet,” says Williams.

The resignation must be approved by the Public Education Department.

Twelve years ago, APS forced Superintendent Brad Allison to resign due to a drug and alcohol problem after three years in office. The payout was also $350,000.

Brooks came from Wichita, Kansas. He’s been the superintendent at APS for six years now.

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