Education Secretary Skandera rejects Navajo school closures | Schools
The Navajo Nation is reacting Thursday to a letter from state Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera in which she rejects closing three Navajo schools.
Back in May, the Gallup-McKinley County School District asked the state education department for permission to close Tohatchi, Navajo and Crownpoint Middle Schools.
The district said it sought to close the schools because of budget problems.
But according to her rejection letter, Skandera said the board did not adequately involve the community in its decision-making process, particularly the Navajo Nation which had expressed the most concern over the decision.
Numerous parents and community members from the Navajo Nation sent letters to Skandera protesting the closures. State Rep. Sandra Jeff also led the effort to prevent the school closures.
In statements issued Thursday, Navajo Nation president Ben Shelly and Navajo Nation Speaker Johnny Naize praised Skandera's refusal to close the schools.
They also both agreed with Skandera's contention that the school board failed to involve the Navajo Nation, which would be most affected by the closures.
Although the letter carries a date of June 11, a PED department spokesman told KOB that the letter was actually sent on July 11.
Read Skandera's letter below: