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PED Official Accused of Retaliation

The News Monkey

The Santa Fe Public Schools superintendent claims poor grades given to the district's schools by the Public Education Department were based on politics rather than performance.

Earlier this month, PED released its yearly grades for the state's public schools. While Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski praised many schools for their efforts, he specifically named SFPS as being concerning, since 56 percent of its schools received D or F grades. Santa Fe superintendent Dr. Veronica Garcia said the grades were a political attack on the district in response to her decision to take the stand as a witness in a lawsuit claiming that PED failed to provide enough funds to meet students' needs.

According to US News, Garcia said the grades do not reflect the district's actual state. Ruzkowski sent a statement to the Associated Press, saying the Santa Fe School District should compare itself to Gadsden Independent School District, which is of similar size with a higher percentage of students from low-income backgrounds who have superior grades.

Pearce Calls for CYFD Reform

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Steve Pearce stood before the offices of the Children, Youth and Family Department last week and told reporters about his plan to change how the state protects its children.

According to a press release from the representative's office, Pearce spoke alongside a number of child well-being advocates to a small group of reporters about concerns he has with the state's child protection services.

The statement reflects public outcry against CYFD in recent months following the revelation of numerous incidents where mishandling by department agents led to the abuse or death of minors. Earlier this month, protesters met outside the CYFD offices to call for the resignation of Secretary Monique Jacobson and to criticize state legislators for failing to address the state's child abuse problem.

Aside from increasing accountability and attracting more skilled agents, Pearce's release also said he wants to work with lawmakers to “transform the predatory environment” by preventing pre-trial release of accused predators and increasing penalties for harming or killing a child.

Deal Keeps Rio Grande Flowing

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority struck a $2 million deal with the US Bureau of Reclamation last week that aims to keep the Rio Grande flowing through Albuquerque despite the current heat wave.

The agreement will provide additional water to the Bureau of Reclamation to supplement the river's flow and provide enough water to keep it moving through October. If conditions improve, any unused water can be released next year, if needed. The bureau will only pay for water it uses, however.

Officials say the lease was reached just in time, as irrigation managers in the Middle Rio Grande Valley were only days away from exhausting water stores, reports the The Albuquerque Journal. Federal officials are seeking further funding to lease more water next year.


 
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