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LCPS blacks out almost entire resignation letter by superintendent, hiding contents from public view

The resignation letter — or lack thereof — of Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Greg Ewing, who stepped down last week, is raising some concerns.

ABC-7 filed an open records request for that resignation letter to learn the reasons why Ewing decided to resign.

In its response, the school district provided ABC-7 with a four-page letter that was almost completely redacted.

The letter opened with, “the purpose of this letter is to give Las Cruces Public Schools 30 days’ of notice of Dr. Greg Ewing’s resignation.”

The rest of the letter is blacked out, until the last sentence where it reads: “Thank you for your courtesy and cooperation.”

ABC-7 asked LCPS officials the reasoning behind the redaction — and they replied that Ewing’s lawyer, who authored the letter for his client, demanded it based on his interpretation of the Inspection of Public Records Act.

An LCPS statement said, “While we do not agree that there is a basis to withhold the redacted portions of this document, we are providing his legal counsel the opportunity to seek a protective order — requiring LCPS to withhold that information.”

Barring a judge’s order, LCPS said it anticipates releasing the entirety of this letter to ABC-7 in 15 days, which would be Aug. 29.

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government believes Ewing’s resignation letter should be made public, in its entirety.

“Under our New Mexico Inspections of Public Records Act, we believe that the letter is subject to IPRA and that the school board should release it,” said Melanie Majors of NMFOG. “The letter may contain criticism of the school board as to why he’s giving he resignation. He also may be making a money demand. But then again, board members do not fall under the personal exemption.”

Ewing resigned on Aug. 13 and his reasoning for doing so remains unknown without the public release of the complete letter.

“We understand that matters of opinion, a letter or memorandum that are matters of opinion are exempt from IPRA, however this isn’t a matter of opinion. This is someone saying I’m leaving your employee and these are my reasons why. We view this letter as a matter of fact,” said Majors.

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