Student publications code passed

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

The board of education will have the final ruling on content of student publications in Clovis schools.

The board passed the code during Tuesday’s regular meeting by a 3-2 margin.

The code also gives a school principal authority to review student publications, such as the high school year book, before it is published.

Clovis Municipal School District Rhonda Seidenwurm said the school district’s previous publications code did not provide principals review authority over student publications.

She said the need for principal review on publications surfaced after community groups criticized last year’s edition of the high school yearbook, the Plainsman, which published photographs of lesbian couples in a segment on relationships.

Under the code, students can appeal a decision regarding content. The board of education will have the final say in the appeals process.

“I think implicit is that no one person has the final word on our policy. We should have the final word on our policy,” said Board Secretary Mark Lansford regarding Seidenwurm’s recommendation that the superintendent have final say in the appeals process.

Board member Lora Harlan voted against the measure because she said she wanted to be sure the code did not conflict with state statutes. Board member Max Best also voted against the code.

The board also unanimously passed a revised publications policy, which gives school administrators more oversight on student publications.

In other business:

• New Mexico Public Education Commission Dennis Roch presented a proposed public education funding formula to board of education members.

If passed by the state Legislature, the formula could increase state funding the Clovis School district receives by more than $11 million a year.

Roch said the formula includes computation of a district’s funding depending on variables such as poverty and English-language learners.