ESPANOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – The Public Education Department says they are taking over Española School District’s finances.
The state says it’s abundantly clear the district is incapable of managing their money.
In a scathing letter, they’re calling out the superintendent on how he’s running the district.
KRQE News 13 spoke with the school board president who says this all comes as surprise.
Española School Board President Pablo Lujan on Thursday night fought back against PED’s claims that the school board is constantly overspending, didn’t follow state law when awarding contracts, and gave the state several false financial reports.
“I believe 100-percent false. We have always been in our budget,” said Lujan. “They don’t identify what exactly they’re talking about. They put it in a blanket statement.”
PED sent another scathing letter to the Española Superintendent, Eric Martinez, saying he has hired people without background checks or licenses, has 17 substitutes working full-time, and has made abrupt leadership changes.
They say it hurts the students who are not being taught by effective teachers.
Lujan believes this is all in retaliation because the superintendent re-hired the fired, controversial head basketball coach, Richard Martinez.
PED says parents, students and teachers have reported a culture of fear, saying Coach Martinez’s relatives have confronted students at school, calling them liars and cowards for reporting the coach.
They say the superintendent ignores those complaints.
Despite the issues outlined, Lujan tells parents this: “We will provide a quality education to each student.”
Superintendent Martinez did not comment Thursday night.
Coach Richard Martinez has a hearing in February where PED will decided if it will pull his license.