Bussing Navajo students

Legislation No. 0301-13: Relating to Health, Education and Human
Services and Naabik’iyati’; Supporting and Recommending a Cooperative
Agreement between the Navajo Nation, McKinley and San Juan Counties
and the New Mexico Public Education Department for purposes of Student
Transportation (HEHS 10/9/13)
(Sponsor: Honorable Jonathan L. Hale)

SPONSOR, DELEGAE

Deals with educational boundary lines, finances, safety of students, parental concerns. Students have right to attend school of choice. there were nine students living in Naschitti going over McKinley County School boundary so parents take children to boundary line where bus pick up or drop off. Sometimes students could not be picked up and students had to walk. Been happening for 30 years. Met with Superintendent here at Dine’ Edcuation, and attending were NM Paddy Lundstrom and Jeff to have MOA so NM law allow. Acknowledged that Gallup McKinley only make for nine students. That was agreement. School Bd approved. Central Consolidated School sitting in lap for more than month and half. In discussion with NM Indian Education Ferlin Clark, I informed Clark that policy needed from NM Legislature and if no MOA then impacts dollars. But this issue also revealed other such issues. It exits in Utah. And there was an accident involving a mother. I’m still waiting for police report from Crownpoint. this accident is telling NM Legislature to act because our children are being put at risk.

DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE

How do we address school boards that are not supportive of Navajo Council policies such as Matthew Tso, Central Consolidated. Personally saw him working against agreement to transport Navajo students and his only his concern was that it would take money from Shiprock. We had media there scratching heads over why Navajo school board member not supporting Navajo students. For Education Committee and other, we need adopt policy that if Navajo official not support, there needs to be remedy. They cannot be rogue. Another example, Red Mesa School Board suing Navajo Nation that resulted in them questioning jurisdiction over school and that case is being used left and right and takes jurisdictional authority away. It really bothers me when have people doing that.

AMENDMENT: ADD “for Naschitti and other Navajo Nation chapters and, or communities.” Appreciate Naschitti raising issues. We have similar issues where students from Counselor want to go to another school.

DELEGATE KENNETH MARYBOY

Could you include Navajo Mountain and San Juan County? Utah is also having issues. There is San Juan County, NM and San Juan County, Utah, but want it to be San Juan County, Utah.

DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE

This is geared to NM and if amend for Maryboy then changes Legislation. So suggest for Health, Education and Human Services Committee to draft legislation for San Juan County, Utah. MARYBOY agrees.

VOTE ON LT AMENDMENT AT 12:24 PM: 15 in favor, 0 opposed

DELEGATE EDMUND YAZZIE

Concerned about McKinley County Schools eliminating bus route over old bridges which forces parents to drive students another ten miles in mud when snows to meet bus. Prior, County wud drive over bridges. I don’t know how to address. When went to McKinley School Board, bridge called John Pinto Bridge route removed.

DELEGATE MEL BEGAY

Important document but question language in heading, “cooperative agreement.” As you lok thru document, cooperative agreement is not included.

DELEGATE HALE

Question: concerning bridge, no discussion, no attention by HEHR Committee and Dine’ Education Board so it appears there is no communication among NM school boards. District 18 chapters passed resolution to inform McKinley School Board and HEHR Committee, which is how legislation drafted and so suggest similar resolution to Delegate Edmund Yazzie regarding bridges.

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT: That agreement was what was discussed by NM Legislators Sandra Jeff and Patty Lundstrom. The cooperative agreement didn’t get attached but it came from legislators and school board. But if Naabi wants to remove “cooperative agreement” wording and replace with stronger language, I welcome that.

DELEGATE WITHERSPOON

That’s ridiculous that buses now determined not to cross bridge?! Can’t stand for that kind of BS, to have our people treated like that. It’s discrimination. Media should look into.

DELEGATE CHARLES DAMON II

They need to check fully as to strength of bridges. I kow it’s one person that is removing bus routes over bridges, which were built by state. The McKinley County School Administration just needs to correct its decision.

AMENDMENT TO INCLUDE MC KINLEY COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD DECISION TO REMOVE BRIDGES AS PART OF BUS ROUTES

DELEGATE TSOSIE

McKinley appears to be supportive of our students and so let us be careful of wording. I cross bridges and I do prayer before crossing. I would ask Health, Education, Human Services Committee to confirm if safety concern. I’ve been noticing bridge renovations and don’t know if national initiative. It’s also safety matter too. If tell McKinley to have buses crosses and there is accident…God forbide.

DELEGATE MEL BEGAY

There is concern about bridges but this legislation is specifically for Naschitti and so I ask Resources & Development Committeee and Health, Education, Human Resources Committee to address bridge concern. There is safety issue from NM and liability to school and we ned to promote that but in separate legislation.

DELEGATE WALTER PHELPS

If lok at board of education resolution, it mentions road projects in San Juan and McKinley Counties. Since cooperative agreement address Navajo Nation, NM Public Education Dept, San Juan County, McKinley County and now bridges…shouldn’t NM Department of Transportation be included?

DELEGATE HALE

It comes down to transportation dollars. So address bridges and San Juan County, Utah, in separate legislation.

13 IN FAVOR, 0 OPPOSED ON AMENDMENT which allows New Mexico Communities to also enter into Cooperative Agreement.

MAIN MOTION AT 12:47 PM:  17 IN FAVOR, 0 OPPOSED

 

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