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The past six weeks have seen a lot of speculation as to the Superintendent of Schools’ employment status. There has even been speculation within the school board itself as to what to do with Schmidt’s resignation offer.
Though the board has not officially accepted the offer, Schmidt has applied to become Taos’ next superintendent, ending up on a short list of eight candidates for the job.
And still, the board has not said exactly why it has not officially accepted Schmidt’s resignation, nor has it officially responded to Schmidt’s main reason for wanting to leave. When he announced his resignation six weeks ago, he said one of the reasons he left was that he did not feel he had the board’s full support.
School Board President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie said it’s quite possible Schmidt’s employment status will be settled once and for all when the board meets with Schmidt Thursday during a special session.
“We’re going to have another conversation with him, because there seems to be some miscommunication among the board members, too. “Thursday, in our executive session, I think we will be able to clear some of this up, she said. “By the the time we have our regular meeting that night there should be more clarification.”
According to Bjarke-McKenzie, the board, despite all the speculation in the media, has not really had a real heart-to-heart conversation about his status.
“There just isn’t anything we want to report, because we haven’t had a real conversation about it,” she said.
In regards to Board Secretary Matt Williams’ statements in the press about wanting a full accounting from her regarding her conversations with Schmidt, she said “I think Matt was seeing too much into this than was really there; there were no secret meetings.”
Williams himself acknowledged Bjarke-McKenzie’s response, saying that the school board president has already told him that there was nothing “over the line” occurring in regards to Bjarke-Mackenzie having separate conversations with Schmidt.
“We’re getting along,” he said. “This was a hiccup, but overall, the board is working together.”
Williams also said he doesn’t regret his public frustration, in that he said it’s helped move the process forward.
“As a result of my venting, there has been more communication among the board members about what we’re going to be talking about on Thursday,” he said. “If Gene is there, that will be great too. “In hindsight, this maybe all should have been done earlier. But now, I think we are all getting on the same page.”
Board member Jim Hall is hopeful that the speculation will end Thursday so they can get back to running the school district.
“I think the board will sit down Thursday and come to a decision they feel is right for Los Alamos,” he said.
“What concerns me is that we have challenges with our budget, challenges with our enrollment, we are trying to provide an outstanding education with teachers who are feeling a lot of pressure from all sides. I’m deeply concerned that this particular issue is consuming all of our attention.”
He also said there is really only one way to get to the bottom of the issue at hand.
“The only way, in my opinion, for a board member to really define their views on an issue such as this is in an open meeting with an open vote,” he said. “I think all this speculation about this board member feeling this way and this board member feeling that way is just that, speculation. You don’t really know until you have a public meeting and take a vote. And that way seems to have been lost in the public discussion.”