Albuquerque Public Schools is now officially done with former superintendent Luis Valentino after a judge and the Public Education Department approved his buyout.
The buyout, which was approved last week, means APS paid out $80,000 to Valentino to buyout the rest of his contract.
Valentino also received his regular pay through October 1, despite resigning on August 31. This meant that, in all, Valentino received over $100,000 after his resignation from the agreement with the Albuquerque Public Schools board.
In a letter from PED secretary Hanna Skandera in which she accepted the buyout, she said she was “deeply disappointed” at the buyout.
“This decision by the Baord, and the Board’s repeated use of weak language and low standards in employment contracts for its superintendents, has placed taxpayers in a lose-lose situation; either accept a costly buyout or undertake what most assuredly would be an even costlier process involving lengthy litigation and potentially months of additional salary payments to the former superintendent,” she wrote.
A copy of the entire letter is available at the bottom of this post.
Valentino resigned after just months on the job amid scandal where a handpicked deputy superintendent turned out to be facing criminal charges for sexual abuse of a child. APS never knew because the deputy superintendent, Jason Martinez, never went through a background check mandated by state law.
Martinez faced trial in Denver for the charges, but a judge declared a mistrial.
The board agreed to the buyout after ten hours of executive sessions over three separate meetings.
Skandera herself was part of a controversy that preceded the Martinez fiasco.
Valentino meant to text Hanna Skandera that he wanted “to go after” APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya. He instead sent the text message to Moya.
Moya was placed on paid leave that afternoon. He remains on paid leave now, months later.
Another controversy came over the re-hire of the daughter of a member of the school board.
This is the second consecutive superintendent to receive a buyout instead of finishing his contract. Winston Brooks also received a buyout after a troubled tenure.
Raquel Reedy is the acting superintendent of the state’s largest school district.