300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786
Fax: (505) 827-6520

PRESS RELEASE
November 22, 2002
e-mail Public Outreach

State Superintendent Accepts Cuba Settlement Plan

(Santa Fe, NM)-State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis announced today that he has accepted a settlement plan with the Cuba Board of Education that will bring a contracted education consultant to the district to resolve the deficiencies detailed in his Notice of Deficiencies, issued on October 3.

"The response from the Cuba district is satisfactory and contains sufficient specificity to remove the deficiencies detailed in the Notice of Deficiencies issued in October. The local board clearly desires to be involved in resolving these deficiencies and regaining its educational prominence," he said.

Should the state superintendent believe the district is failing to comply with the settlement, an alternative order of suspension will be issued, as provided by statute.

Officials from the New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) and Cuba schools met on November 15 and 17 to clarify the board's November 4 response to the Notice of Deficiencies and discuss a possible supplement or settlement. The settlement was submitted to the SDE on November 21.

While Cuba will formally initiate its plan in January 2003, the parties' short-term goal, according to the settlement, is to immediately refocus administrative and financial efforts on pressing instructional concerns. The board will work with Corridor Inc., through January 31, 2003, to begin addressing urgent needs until the SDE has selected a contracted education consultant for the district. Once hired, the consultant will be responsible to the state superintendent or his designee

In addition, the Cuba schools and SDE have developed a request for proposals for financial management services to assist the board in recovering its board of finance authority "as soon as possible." By January 31, the consultant will provide reports to the board and state superintendent on issues the district has overcome and those remaining to be resolved.

"The Cuba plan will result in an instructional system that is documented, accountable, driven from a plan, informed by frequent student assessment, aligned to the SDE's content standards, responsive to all segments of the community and locally controlled and managed," said Frank J. Albetta, attorney for the Cuba schools.

The settlement calls for mentoring for the local board, an onsite visit by an evaluation team consisting of representatives from various school organizations, unannounced visits by SDE monitors and a five-day response time for the district for failure to meet any stipulation in the agreement.