Farmington — After meeting with Central Consolidated School District officials, Gallup-McKinley County Schools is stopping its bus service to the convenience store in Naschitti.
Leaders from both districts met Sept. 13 in Window Rock to talk about transporting Naschitti students by bus -- which Gallup-McKinley started Sept. 3 based on safety concerns brought to the district by parents -- to schools in Tohatchi.
Gallup-McKinley Superintendent Frank Chiapetti said bus service into Naschitti will stop today and the district will propose a memorandum of understanding about bus transportation to CCSD.
In an interview Monday, Chiapetti said the memorandum would be presented to the Gallup-McKinley board in a Monday evening meeting in Crownpoint with the idea of presenting it to the CCSD board this evening.
CCSD board president Matthew Tso said the move was "a gesture of good faith" by Gallup-McKinley and no formal agreement is in place but there is a mutual understanding that an agreement is forthcoming.
CCSD maintains that New Mexico Administrative Code transportation rules "must be respected and upheld," he said.
In the meantime, Gallup-McKinley buses will return to picking up and dropping off students at the McKinley and San Juan county line on U.S. Highway 491.
"That's what it should have been before this controversy started," Tso said.
School districts can enter into transportation boundary agreements based on geographical conditions that make it impractical to transport students to schools within the district where they live.
This is the case with students who live in Crystal, Tso said.
Although Crystal is located within CCSD's boundaries, its location on the west side of the Chuska Mountains hinders transportation by CCSD buses so students there attend schools in Navajo, N.M., that are operated by Gallup-McKinley, through a tentative agreement between the school districts, he said.
But Naschitti is not blocked from CCSD schools in Newcomb by geographical conditions so it "boils down" to parent choice in where their students attends school, Tso said.
Under the Transportation Boundary Agreement in the state administrative code, parents who choose to have their children attend school out of district are responsible for providing their own transportation.
Tso said any proposed agreement by Gallup-McKinley will not be placed on tonight's CCSD board agenda because it did not make it in time for the 72-hour Open Meetings Act requirement.
Naschitti Chapter president Hoskie Bryant said community members do want the school districts to develop an agreement because "we don't like to see schools fighting over our students."