Navajo Nation threatens Gallup McKinley County School Board with legal action
By: NP Staff | The Navajo Post | May 25
Window Rock, Ariz. –Navajo Prez. beefed up calls late Thursday to meet with Hanna Skandera, New Mexico Public Education Department secretary- The President said he wants to talk about the school closures on the Navajo Nation.
Mr. Shelly said they are seeking ‘legal avenues’ to keep the schools open, which goes against the New Mexico Indian Education Act and a partnership the reservation has with the State of New Mexico. “We’re partners with the state of New Mexico in the education of Navajo children. There is a need to collaborate.” said Shelly.
Central Consolidated School District, in Kirtland is also a border town education system in jeopardy, but the President made his intentions very clear, “I want to start the process to see what it’s going to take to meet with Sec. Skandera on a government to government basis we want to see what we can do to prevent the schools from closing,” President Shelly said with disappointment.
Gallup McKinley County School board decided not to revote on closing three reservation middle schools on Monday night, now things are escalating. The school board voted 3-2 on May 10 to close three middle schools, all of which are on the Navajo Nation.
Community members and Navajo leaders in a series of town hall meetings asked the board to reconsider their decision. The recall item was on the school board’s agenda Monday night, but the board didn’t take any action on the measure.
“I am very disappointed, that you didn’t act on the action item on the agenda, it would’ve been nice if you tabled it and so we could come together and talk,” President Shelly said during the public comment portion of the agenda.
Mr. Shelly said he would like the ‘future decisions’ regarding restructuring schools that could harm Navajo students and the escalation of surrounding counties going against the Tribe.
“Any future decision to be made about the restructuring of the school district involving Navajo students will need to take place with the Navajo Nation representing … the Navajo children,” President Shelly said.
Navajo Council Delegates Edmund Yazzie, Mel Begaye, Roscoe Smith and Leonard Tsosie all spoke at Monday’s meeting against the school closures.