Judge approves APS, Brooks settlement agreement

Winston Brooks
Winston Brooks

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A district court judge approved a settlement for former Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks. The settlement gives Brooks a $350,000 payout to walk away from APS two years early.

That judge found the resignation and settlement agreement is legally enforceable and she said in the best interest of APS and the public.

Brooks and his wife were in court for the hearing Friday morning.

Brooks had been superintendent of APS since 2008 and his contract with aps was supposed to last through the 2015-2016 school year. However, he resigned two weeks ago after the APS board president hired a private attorney to investigate a personnel issue.

KRQE News 13 learned that investigation had to do with Brooks’ wife who was also mentioned in the settlement agreement. That agreement also says the investigation into Brooks would be kept private.

Friday, the judge called brooks to the stand to look over the agreement. But it was an APS board member who shed more light on why the board approved the settlement, saying the relationship with Brooks was no longer working and a legal fight could have cost a lot more money.

“We decided in the end, basically economically not to get in a situation where we’re expending $1 million in litigation and not get in a situation where we disrupt the school district,” APS board member, Martin Esquivel, said.

That settlement will now go to the state’s Public Education Department for approval.

The attorney for the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, who has been requesting the release of the investigation report, was also in court Friday. He said they’ll continue to push for the report and will sue if necessary.

The judge said that’s a matter that should be taken up in another hearing.

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