CCSD board officially removes superintendent

Noel Lyn Smith
Members of the Central Consolidated School District board and interim Superintendent Colleen Bowman, at right, listen on Thursday during a work session at the district's board room in Shiprock.

SHIPROCK — Members of the Central Consolidated School District board have officially discharged Don Levinski as superintendent.

Board Vice President Ruthda Thomas, Secretary Christina J. Aspaas and member Randy Manning voted in favor of Levinski's removal during a work session Thursday in the district's board room in Shiprock.

Board member Adam Begaye abstained from voting, and board President Charlie Jones Jr. was absent from the work session.

The decision was made after the board spent about 30 minutes in an executive session late Thursday evening.

On Aug. 18, the board voted to remove Levinski as superintendent and place him on administrative leave. The board also appointed former Supervisor of Schools Colleen Bowman as the interim superintendent.

Jones and Begaye filed a complaint with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office on Aug. 21 that accused Thomas, Aspaas and Manning of violating the state’s open meetings act during the Aug. 18 meeting.

On Aug. 24, the board convened in a follow-up meeting and ratified the Aug. 18 actions to place Levinski on paid administrative leave and appoint Bowman.

John Kennedy, the attorney representing the school board, told The Daily Times earlier this month that Levinski was served with a notice of discharge in September.

Levinski responded to the discharge notice through his attorney in early October.

Central Consolidated School District board member Randy Manning speaks on Thursday during a work session at the district's board room in Shiprock.

Before going into executive session on Thursday, the board discussed several other agenda items.

Eric James, the district’s director of operations, said the district received a letter from the New Mexico Public Education Department about available funding to replace a school bus in the district’s fleet.

The district has approximately 102 school buses in service, and the new school bus would cost $83,000, James said. It would be a 2016 model and would replace a 2004 model, according to a document from the state education department.

“We anticipate trading the old bus at some point in the future, once we get the parts that we need off it,” James said.

Board members also listened to a report about a proposal to donate five computers by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich’s office.

Rick Nussbaum, technology coordinator for the district, said the district was contacted by the Democratic senator’s office about the donation, and the office requested the district accept the donation.

“Every year, the senate disposes of some of their equipment,” Nussbaum said.

The five computers are Hewlett-Packard and would be given to Newcomb Elementary School.

“They’re same models that we are currently using in the classrooms,” he said, adding the machines would arrive to the district with no software but the district’s campus license for Microsoft would allow the software to be installed.

“We can get the machines up to where we need them to be,” Nussbaum said.

The board could decide to accept both requests at the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 17 in the district’s Shiprock Board Room in Shiprock.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.