Citizens group meets with Seidenwurm

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Leaders of Clovis Municipal Schools and three spokesmen from the Concerned Citizens of Curry County met in private talks Friday that Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said helped clear up misconceptions.

Seidenwurm and Interim Superintendent G.C. Ross met with CCCC President David Briseno, Johnny Chavez and local NAACP President Selmus Price, according to a press release.

Briseno said the meeting would have no impact on a public meeting the group has scheduled for Thursday with a representative from the Department of Justice to discuss alleged civil rights investigations into hiring and instructional practices in the school district.

Briseno had no comment about subjects discussed at the meeting.

“We basically had whatever conversations they wanted to have,” Seidenwurm said.

As an example of a misconception, Seidenwurm said CCCC members said they had heard the Family Leadership Institute would be moved from Lincoln-Jackson Family Center to Lockwood Elementary School.

“That’s just not true. There isn’t even room there,” she said.

Seidenwurm said Briseno also brought up concerns of an increased percentage of Hispanic students at Choices Alternative School.

“There’s a long waiting list for Choices,” Seidenwurm said. “We don’t make students go there.”

Seidenwurm said concerns about hiring practices were brought up.

“That’s what we agreed to disagree on. Everybody agreed what we’re doing is legal and ethical. For example, not all jobs are advertised. Sometimes we have the perfect person in district so we just move them. We can do that,” Seidenwurm said.

Seidenwurm said the two groups disagreed about processes but agreed everyone at the table had the best interest of students at heart.

“Anytime people are willing to sit down and listen to each other, you can settle most issues,” she said. “When you’re dealing with people of good will, an honest conversation goes a long way and we’ve finally been able to do that.”

At the last meeting between CCCC and the board of education, Seidenwurm was asked to leave.

Seidenwurm said the district is not concerned about a possible federal investigation.

“We’re doing everything legally and above board,” she said.

CNJ staff writer Kevin Wilson contributed to this report.