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No Parachute for Valentino

No Parachute for Valentino

t could be argued that the board has just cause to fire Valentino for his alleged failure to follow APS rules and procedures in the Martinez case


It appears the Albuquerque Public School Board can terminate Superintendent Luis Valentino’s three-year contract without having to pay him a big buyout like it has done to get rid of past superintendents.

The first page of Valentino’s $240,000-a-year contract says the board can end the contract for “good and just cause.”

Here’s the language:

“This Employment Contract may be cancelled by the Board for good and just cause, provided that any such cancellation may be effected only in accordance with New Mexico law and any applicable rules and regulations of the Board and the state Public Education Department.”

Valentino has come under fire for hiring Jason Martinez as a deputy superintendent and allegedly thwarting an effort by APS staff to perform a background check on him.

After Martinez quit his job last week, it was revealed that he is facing child sexual abuse charges in Colorado. He is also facing a felony assault with a deadly weapon charge in Colorado stemming from a fight with his boyfriend earlier this year. A background check most likely would have revealed those charges, but APS’s human resources chief has alleged that she complained to Valentino at least six times that Martinez had refused to provide his fingerprints or otherwise complete the background check.

APS’s policy says that teachers and other staffers can’t be hired until a background check has been completed on them. It could be argued that the board has just cause to fire Valentino for his alleged failure to follow APS rules and procedures in the Martinez case.

Colorado authorities have said that Martinez shouldn’t have left that state without getting permission from court officials to do so. They are expected to issue a warrant for his arrest.

APS has had to pay big money in the past to superintendents when it tried to end their contracts early. The board paid $383,000 to Brad Allison in 20002 to cancel his contract, and in 2014, it paid $350,000 to Winston Brooks to end his contract.

— Dennis Domrzalski

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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