Lawmakers testify at EPISD appeal hearing in Austin
POSTED: Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 10:15pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 8, 2013 - 10:01am
An entire community lost faith in their district after the explosive cheating scandal at EPISD.
That's when the Texas Education Agency stepped in, stripped the school board of its powers in December, and appointed a Board of Managers to run EPISD instead.
But Trustees didn't take it lying down and decided to fight the decision at a hearing in Austin.
"This hearing is basically one where the school district is questioning the decision of the Commissioner. They have a right to do that under the rules of the Texas Education Agency but I personally think that it is time that we move forward and just allow Commissioner Williams to have his appointed Board of Managers," said Senator José Rodriguez.
Senator José Rodriguez and State Representative Marisa Marquez spoke in support of the TEA's decision at the hearing today, despite the school board's attempts to block their testimony.
"The appointment of the Board of Managers will help alleviate some of the issues at EPISD and hopefully we can come to a more speedy resolution which is to get the district back on track.Those members that make up this board are highly respected individuals in the community and I think that they have shown commitment to the district, to be a part of this process, and I think they are ready to work," says Rep. Marisa Marquez.
But Trustees disagree and responded by saying:
"TEA has not met the legal requirements to impose either a conservator or a board of managers.. In our January 18 letter.. we explained that TEA was required to explain that less intrusive options than the appointment of a board of managers had been attempted and failed; but that the TEA had utterly failed to make this showing."
City Representative Susie Byrd attended the hearing to lend her support to the TEA and fellow lawmakers, but she wasn't allowed to speak. The school board blocked her testimony and she says it reflects the district's unwillingness to hear the community's concerns.
"It's been real frustrating for me that the Board hasn't taken real action except when the TEA has forced them to do so and really, at this point, I think that's the most decent, grateful thing that they can do and the best thing they can do for our community is to step down," says Rep. Byrd.
Today was the last day of testimony and a final decision will be made mid-March.