Farmington Voice 2021 watchlist: FPS Board of Education

We’re taking a look this week at 2020’s cliffhangers, stories that promise major developments in the coming year.

Farmington Public Schools experienced tremendous upheaval this year, culminating in the resignations of two board members and its superintendent.

Shortly after voters overwhelmingly approved a $98 million construction bond in March, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down buildings and sent students and staff on the rocky path of remote learning. Officials had hoped to bring elementary students back in November, but rising COVID-19 rates led to delays.

The current plan has pre-K, special education, and K-6 students back on January 11 and secondary students on January 25. But even before then, trustees face some challenging discussions.

Supt. Dr. Bob Herrera, board president Pam Green, and vice president Terry Johnson all resigned in mid-November, citing accusations of racism and other statements made by trustee Angie Smith. Johnson’s term ended this year; Green’s, in 2024.

Also during that meeting, trustees voted to censure Smith for accusations of racial bias that led to Herrera’s resignation. He leaves the position on January 22 and will act as a consultant until June 30. The exit agreement settles any potential lawsuits and pays him $105,000 to close out his three-year contract, which would have expired in 2022.

Farmington Public Schools election 2020
From left, Cheryl Blau, Mable Fox, and Claudia Heinrich all won board terms in November. (contributed)

On December 9, officials appointed Cheryl Blau and Mable Fox, who each won a six-year term in November, to fill the vacancies. When they begin their six-year terms, trustees will have 30 days to find someone for the rest of Green’s term. They’re accepting applications through January 3.

With Claudia Heinrich, who won a 2-year term, also on board January 5, trustees are expected to appoint an interim superintendent. Consultants at Oakland Schools have recommended hiring an internal candidate to minimize disruption.

Also on the 6 p.m. remote meeting agenda: the removal of Smith’s censure.

Correction: The year that Pam Green’s term expires was incorrectly reported in the original version of this post. 


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