Task Force Seeks To Stop Corruption
POSTED: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 10:36pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 2:22pm
EL PASO- After years of corruption that have plagued so many schools, districts board members are saying enough is enough. State Representative Marisa Marquez started a group called The Task Force on School Board Transparency. It's goal is to restore the public's trust.
The arrest of former EPISD Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia was just the latest in a long list of public corruption cases that have shamed our public schools.
The federal probe has led to criminal charges against district leaders in El Paso, Ysleta and Socorro.
State Representative Marisa Marquez has assembled a group to make sure these crimes never happen again.
"We have an obligation not just to cut costs, and not just to be cost effective, but to restore public trust. That's exactly what this task force was created for,” said Marquez.
School district members met at The El Paso Community College Administrative Center. School board members from several districts will set standards for employees. The group will make campaign financial reports more accessible and hold employees accountable for financial decisions.
"The purpose of this task force is to be proactive. To put ourselves in front of issues, instead of being reactive or waiting for something to happen,” said Marquez.
Representative Marquez has also sponsored a bill that went into law last year that requires campaign finance reports to go online.
"It was a practice that we saw more prevalent in the bigger school districts, and I thought it was a great idea, especially in our fight to restore the public's trust against the corruption that's plagued our community in recent years,” said Marquez.
EPISD School Board President Isela Castenon-Williams says EPISD has always been ahead of the curve, and posted finance information on their website. She doesn't support making more information available to the public if it comes with a cost.
"I think all of the school districts were saying, don't cost us more money because we're not getting more money from the state,” said Castenon-Williams.