School teacher Pauline J. Ponce easily won a se at on the Roswell school board Tuesday, but her newly elected position may already be in jeopardy. Officials, and state law, say it is a conflict of interest for an employee of the school district to serve on the school board.
New Mexico School Boards Association Executive Director Joe Guillen said Ponce will be forced to choose between keeping her teaching post at Sunset Elementary or keeping her school board seat.
â€œItâ€™s pretty clear in the law that the person who serves on the local school board cannot work in the school district,â€ Guillen said.
He cited state statute 22-5-5, which states, â€œNo member of a local school board shall be employed in any capacity by a school district governed by that local school board during the term of office for which the member was elected or appointed.â€
The law was passed in 1967.
Ponce, who defeated a sitting city councilor and the incumbent school board vice president for District 4 in the Feb. 1 election, said she was weighing her options on how to proceed.
â€œIâ€™m just looking at my options and going from there,â€ she said.
Ponce had previously told the Daily Record that she was planning on retiring from teaching at the end of next school year in 2012, after 35 years of working in education. She declined to say if she would consider retiring earlier than that.
Both Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Michael Gottlieb and the school boardâ€™s attorney, Tony Ortiz, declined to comment on the matter. School board member Jim Waldrip said the issue was being discussed â€œin-house.â€