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New Mexico Public Education Commission says Alma D’Arte Charter School breached charter

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- A charter school in Las Cruces has been found to be in violation of its contract with the state, and parents of students attending the school say it’s "long overdue."

The New Mexico Public Education Commission decided unanimously during a meeting in Santa Fe Friday that Alma D'Arte is in breach of their charter, following concerns from parents about the culture of the school.

In a statement sent to ABC-7 on Monday, the P.E.C. said “the decision to issue a Breach of Contract was made after public comment received at the P.E.C. meeting and a lengthy discussion with the Charter School Division staff and leadership from the school regarding concerns at the school and opportunities for the school to improve.”

The commission added they "asked school leadership to reestablish a respectful, safe and effective learning environment."

According to Alma D'Arte's contract with the New Mexico Board of Education, a notice of breach can be delivered to the school when there's "failure to meet objectives identified in a notice of concern," "evidence of material or significant failure to comply with applicable laws," and "actions or operational deficiencies that may endanger the well‐being of students and/or staff, or negatively impact the viability of the school."

The NM Board of Education says the school "must" develop, submit, and implement a corrective action or improvement plan with "specific improvements, objectives, timelines, and measures that results in correction of the breach."

Parents of students and former students, as well as former faculty that ABC-7 spoke with on Monday about the board's decision, as well as the culture of the school.

“There’s this culture of fear, bullying, suppression by the administration," says former visual arts teacher Chris Stout-Bardley.

Janet Van-Coblijn says Chief Academic Officer Dr. Adam Amador "ran her son" out of the school after allegedly giving him form that said he "wasn't the right fit" for Alma D'Arte.

She says she's satisfied with the P.E.D.'s decision.

“I think it’s well overdue, and I applaud the Public Education Commission for their insight at the meeting on Friday on many things that are easily apparent, from the actions of the administration and the governance board, and the flaws in the system," said Van-Coblijn.

Other parents accuse Dr. Amador of "extreme bullying" towards students, including Cindy Delanoy, who's two sons attended the school.

She says her son Malachi complained of bullying from Dr. Amador, and says he ultimately committed suicide in August of 2023, just three weeks after Dr. Amador took charge of the school.

She says he also bullied her other son, Michael, when he went back to school after his brother's death.

These accusations were brought to the attention of the P.E.C. during public comment of a March board meeting.

“Just everyone please remember Malachi, and fight for your kids," says Delanoy.

ABC-7 reached out to Alma D'Arte’s administration for comment, however, a receptionist told us the school was closed Monday and no administration was available.

ABC-7 also reached out directly to Dr. Amador via email and social media, as well as each individual member of the school's governance board via email, but have not heard back any comment at the time of this publication.

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Jason McNabb

Reporter/Multimedia Journalist & GMEP Weekends co-anchor


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