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Letters to the editor

I THINK THIS clamoring for more information by the public regarding (former APS Superintendent) Winston Brooks needs to stop. The voting public already knows all it needs to know.

In a nutshell, he was already on an improvement plan, had two lawsuits pending against him and, in addition, had a highly publicized incident where the police were called to his home regarding domestic problems.

These things alone, in addition to his antagonistic relationship with the PED, are reasons enough for the district to cut him loose!

Yet, the “public” wants more! It’s all about money now, this supposed “golden parachute” that the district and taxpayers are paying him to leave! The public claims it has a right to know more details because, by God, it’s their money!

What more does the public want to know? The lurid details of his sex life? Personal details about his wife? What kinds of pets they have? What is stored within the boxes in his garage? Come on!

The public already knows enough. Let the rest go!



Brooks’ deal is demoralizing to our hard-working teachers

WHEN DID APS turn into Enron?

Figuring the ends justify the means, the Journal is comfortable with the APS Board offering Superintendent (Winston) Brooks a third of a million dollars to end his tenure after conducting a secret investigation into a non-disclosed, forever-to-remain-secret “serious personnel issue.” I find it an outrageous use of taxpayer money and a betrayal of trust.

Let’s put Brooks’ buyout in perspective. $350,000 would buy:

• Over 23,000 library books at an average cost of $15 a book;

• Over 18,000 cases of copier paper at an average cost of $18.99 per case. Teachers across the district are already being scolded for exceeding their copier allotments – and it’s not even September;

• 350 iMac computers – enough to furnish 10 computer labs with 35 computers. This year, APS students will take the PARCC test, a computer-based assessment that many schools are not yet equipped to administer;

• 26 educational assistant salaries, enough to provide an additional EA at nearly every middle school in the district; and

• 10 additional Level 1 math teachers. At my middle school, some math teachers have 38 students in a class.

Why couldn’t the board have taken a page from Brooks’ own playbook and demoted him or reassigned him to a lesser position within the district? That way, taxpayers would have gotten something for their money and Brooks could have accepted his demotion or quit.

The Journal’s stance on the Brooks fiasco reveals the editorial bias towards all forms of corporate and executive welfare – only programs benefiting the poor are worthy of criticism.

In a district where hardworking new teachers don’t earn even a tenth of what Brooks is receiving to leave and veteran teachers haven’t had a meaningful raise in years, this turn of events couldn’t be more demoralizing.

And, sadly, that will be Winston Brooks’ legacy to APS and its employees.



Information about decision by APS can’t be a secret forever

I AGREE WITH your editorial that the public deserves to know the details of the Winston Brooks/APS severance agreement, which is now secret.

Here’s the good news: the parties to that deal can’t keep it secret forever. If the agreement was created or maintained by the state’s Risk Management Division and if it pertains to a claim for damages or other relief against Brooks, state statute will deem it subject to public inspection 180 days after the date it was finally settled.

If it was not created or maintained by the Risk Management Division, it is probably already subject to a request for inspection under the Inspection of Public Records Act.


Los Ranchos

CERTAIN SPECIAL groups of people – school superintendents, clergy, business CEOs and investment bankers – appear to be immune from the repercussions of illegal, unethical or immoral actions.

The agreement made between Superintendent Winston Brooks and the Albuquerque School Board allowing him to retire with over $300,000, no public record of his misdeeds and a letter of recommendation to be given to an unsuspecting school district is as distasteful as the Catholic Church secretly transferring priests who committed sexual abuse to another parish.

Two new corrective courses of action should be taken in this matter.

First, the school board’s recommended action should be rejected and Brooks should be fired.

Second, the entire school board should be removed from office as soon as possible for even recommending this gross miscarriage of justice.



The only transparency in our government is for the NSA, IRS

WE HAVE BEEN told that “government would be more transparent.” Let’s see what that means:

Does it mean (former APS Superintendent) Winston Brooks resigns suddenly and we know why? No! Instead, our government officials hide behind “personnel policy matters.” At least there is a “shut your mouth” fine involved. I’m sure that will make things more transparent.

Our president says he will make the government more “transparent.” I guess that’s why we had the IRS and NSA scandals.

The only thing “transparent” now is that our records, emails, telephone conversations, et al, are transparent to them. But transparency in government overall? What a bad joke on all of us.