The state court of appeals issued a denial of a stay earlier this month as a part of the slow-moving civil lawsuit between two local board of education members and the New Mexico Public Education Department.
Los Lunas Board of Education members Bryan Smith and Eloy Giron were on the five-person board, which was permanently suspended in November 2021. The two appealed the decision in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, and it was overturned in May 2022.
Giron and Smith were immediately reinstated to the board, but PED appealed the district court’s decision in June 2022 by filing a petition for a writ of certiorari with the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
The court of appeals granted the state’s petition for the writ in November, directing the district court to send all the documents from the case to the higher court for a review of the decision.
In conjunction with the petition for the writ of certiorari, PED filed a motion to stay, asking the court to hold the order to reinstate Giron and Smith while its appeal is waiting to be heard.
On Feb. 1, the court of appeals denied PED’s request for a stay on Giron and Smith’s return to the board. The two men have been attending and participating in board meetings since May 2022.
PED’s appeal is still pending and the court has not made a final decision.
In the ruling on their appeal in district court, the judge concluded while PED did act within the scope of its authority and did not act “fraudulently, arbitrarily of capriciously,” since the department did not consult with the Public Education Commission and the “decision of (the department) is not supported by substantial evidence as to the appellants,” Smith and Giron should be immediately reinstated to the board.
State regulations, which have since been changed, previously required PED to consult with the commission before it suspended a board of education.
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