CCSD board votes to end Levinski's employment

Noel Lyn Smith
Central Consolidated School District Superintendent Don Levinski speaks July 10, 2014, at San Juan College in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — The Central Consolidated School District Board of Education has once again authorized cutting ties with Superintendent Don Levinski.

Board members made their latest decision after spending approximately three hours in executive session during a special meeting Tuesday evening in Shiprock.

After reconvening in open session, board President Randy Manning, Secretary Christina J. Aspaas and members Charlie Jones Jr. and Ruthda Thomas passed a motion to end Levinski's employment as superintendent.

Board Vice President Adam Begaye attended the meeting but left during the executive session because of a medical concern, Manning said.

The board passed a second motion that authorized Manning to contact Levinski and ask the superintendent to appear in Shiprock to receive discharge papers. The motion also authorized Manning to sign "all papers" regarding the end of Levinski's employment.

A final motion authorized filing a declaratory judgment to void Levinski's contract. In January 2015, board members extended his contract to June 30, 2018.

Each motion passed 4-0, and there was no discussion by the board.

"The board took the action, it was unanimous," Manning said in an interview after the meeting. He declined to comment further about the matter.

The agenda for Tuesday’s special meeting listed an action regarding a notice of termination hearing, which Manning said was not related to Levinski.

Andrew Sanchez, the attorney representing the school board, said today that the termination hearing was related to another employee.

When asked about the declaratory judgment, Sanchez said it would be filed in district court because the board believes there is an argument to be made that Levinski's contract is void.

Levinski has been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 18, 2015, when the board voted 3-2 to remove him and appoint Colleen Bowman as interim superintendent.

He filed a request through his lawyer in October 2015 for a due process hearing in response to the board's decision.

Board members denied that request when they officially discharged Levinski as superintendent in November 2015.

In February, four board members voted in favor of rescinding the discharge notice and replacing it with a similar notice at a later date.

The board also suspended the search for a new superintendent in March.

When contacted today, Eleanor K. Bratton, Levinski's attorney, said she was not aware of the board's decisions.

Bratton said that to terminate Levinski's contract, board members need to show cause.

"They don't have cause, and they know it," she said, adding the procedures to terminate an employee are set by state laws.

Bratton said she has reached out to the board several times to negotiate a contract buyout for Levinski, but there has been no response.

Sanchez declined to comment on actions related to a buyout.

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