Farmington >> Negotiations to solve a bus transportation issue between Central Consolidated School District and Gallup-McKinley County Schools have taken another step.

During a special meeting last week, the CCSD board extended an invitation to meet with GMCS officials to discuss the bus transportation issue in Naschitti.

This school year, some students who live in Naschitti, which is in San Juan County, enrolled in schools in Tohatchi, which is in McKinley County. After hearing parents' concerns, GMCS started running a bus into Naschitti to pick up and drop off students. The action was not approved by CCSD, and no transportation boundary agreement was in place.

On Thursday, CCSD spokesman James Preminger said a special meeting between officials from both districts will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in the Naschitti Elementary gymnasium.

Preminger said the agenda will be posted 72 hours before the meeting, in accordance with state law, on CCSD's website, The meeting is open to the public.

"Everything is in the hands of the school boards, and we want what is best in terms of safety for students, regardless of what district they go to," Preminger said.

The Navajo Nation is also weighing in on the matter.

Navajo Nation Council delegate Jonathan Hale is sponsoring a bill that supports and recommends a cooperative transportation agreement be made between the school districts, the tribe and the New Mexico Public Education Department.

The legislation is based on a resolution that the Navajo Nation Board of Education passed last month.

It directs the school districts to consider and enter into an agreement to authorize student transportation and enrollment across school district boundaries.

Hale is the chairman of the Health, Education and Human Services Committee, which has oversight of the Department of Diné Education and the Navajo Nation Board of Education.

The committee approved the bill Wednesday with a vote of 5-0.

The legislation continues to the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee, where final authority rests.

Under state law, before school boards can enter into a transportation boundary agreement involving Native American students, district administrators need to consult with tribal representatives and review any concerns raised by the tribe.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.