Discharge process continues for CCSD's Levinski

Noel Lyn Smith

FARMINGTON — A year after the Central Consolidated School District Board of Education placed Superintendent Don Levinski on paid administrative leave, the process to remove him continues.

The process to remove Central Consolidated School District Superintendent Don Levinski continues, with school board members recently voting to hire an attorney for Levinski's discharge proceedings.

Board President Randy Manning said board members voted 5-0 during a meeting on Tuesday to hire an attorney for the discharge proceedings.

As of Thursday, a date for Levinski's discharge hearing had not been scheduled, Manning said. The New Mexico School Personnel Act mandates that a school board hold a discharge hearing no less than 20 working days and no more than 40 working days after a superintendent has received written notice of discharge.

Eleanor K. Bratton, Levinski's attorney, said her client requested the hearing after he received the latest notice of discharge earlier in the month.

Four board members voted to end Levinski's employment during a special meeting on May 31. Levinski has the right to challenge the board’s May decision under the School Personnel Act.

Each time the board issues a termination notice, Levinski requests a hearing, Bratton said.

The process began when board members voted on Aug. 18, 2015, to remove Levinski. The same board members ratified their decision during a special meeting on Aug. 24, 2015.

Board members then voted on Nov. 12, 2015, to officially discharge Levinski and denied his request for a due process hearing from October 2015.

On Feb. 9, board members rescinded the November discharge notice and replaced it with a similar notice at a later date. The latest discharge notice was approved by board members in May.

Andrew Sanchez, the attorney representing the school board, said the board is continuing the process to discharge Levinski and is working to secure an attorney to present the board's evidence. The board also needs to set a hearing date, he said.

District spokesman James Preminger said Levinski remains the superintendent and is on paid administrative leave. The superintendent continues to receive his $125,000 annual salary that board members approved when they extended his contract in January 2015, Preminger said.

Colleen Bowman continues to serve as interim superintendent, a position she has held since last August.

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