Albuquerque Public Schools acknowledged Tuesday the authenticity of a text message that said the superintendent was “going to go after” an employee who is now on administrative leave.
Last Friday, Superintendent Luis Valentino mistakenly sent district Chief Financial Officer Don Moya a text message that said he was “going to go after” Moya.
Valentino apparently meant to send the message to state Education Secretary Hanna Skandera.
“Mrng [sic] Hanna,” the message began. “I am going to go after Don Moya in d [sic] next couple of weeks. My concern is that he has been allowed to ride roughshot [sic] over here and controls a lot of d [sic] financials. We are also trying to sell a bond. Our rating could be jeopardized. Any ideas?”
Valentino sent the text just before 7 a.m. Moya told New Mexico Political Report that the district put him on administrative leave around 2:30 p.m. that same day.
Valentino confirmed the authenticity of the text message in interviews with multiple TV news stations that are set to air later today.
New Mexico Political Report requested an interview with Valentino this afternoon, but APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta said he was in back-to-back meetings the rest of the day. Classes start this Thursday for the 2015-2016 school year.
Armenta, however, told us what Valentino told other reporters.
“He confirmed that yes, it was an errant text and it was a mistake,” she said.
Armenta added that Valentino is “disappointed” the text message became a public issue and instead wants to concentrate on back-to-school matters, which she said he’s “as focused as ever” on.
Other than stating that Moya is still an employee with the district, Armenta wouldn’t go into more detail about the situation, including why Moya was placed on leave. She said Valentino struck the same chord in his TV interviews.
“The superintendent repeated again and again that this is a personnel issue, that he can’t discuss more about it,” Armenta said.
Moya similarly wouldn’t go into more detail in an interview yesterday, noting that he was still in the process of securing legal representation.
Moya has been head of the school district’s finances for five years.
The advocacy group Stand4KidsNM, which first published the text message on its Facebook page over the weekend, has repeatedly criticized Valentino’s actions.
“Who does the new APS superintendent work for?” wrote Kathy Korte, a former school board member critical of the state’s education reform agenda. “Apparently it’s Hanna Skandera.”
Albuquerque Federation of Teachers President Ellen Bernstein similarly told the Albuquerque Journal that “it would break our hearts if APS just hired a superintendent who cared more about working with the secretary of ed than the employees of the district.”
Valentino started as superintendent in the summer and will soon preside over his first school year in Albuquerque.