TEA Responds to EPISD Board's Appeal Decision


POSTED: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 6:52pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 8:10pm

Representatives with the Texas Education Agency are responding to the El Paso Independent School Board trustees' impending appeal of the Commissioner's decision to strip them of their power.

This all stems from the cheating scandal at the district, which landed former superintendent Lorenzo Garcia in prison.

Tuesday night, the school board decided they're going to appeal Commissioner Michael Williams' decision to the Department of Justice.

Last week, Williams appointed a board of managers, including El Paso Water Utilities CEO Ed Archuleta, State Rep. Dee Margo, current T.E.A. monitor Dr. Judy Castleberry, and the City of El Paso Chief Financial Officer Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria.

The D.O.J. has to give permission to the T.E.A. to do this, which will take up to 90 days.

Board President Isela Castañon-Williams read a statement to the media saying why they've decided to fight back.

"This action will undermine the right of the people to have their duly elected leaders assume office and make the decisions on their behalf for the children of this school district," said Castañon-Williams.

"The voters are best suited to decide who should take charge of the district. Not the political appointee who is unaccountable to the voters," she said.

The school board has to appeal through their agency first through a record review, said Gene Acuna, a T.E.A. representative.
Once the agency receives formal notification of their appeal, someone in the agency, who has not been associated with EPISD, will hear their case, said Acuna.

"It's rare to have to install a board of managers," said Acuna. "(It's) even rarer that (the agency's) decision's been overturned in a record review.

"It's understandable the board of trustees would be disappointed in the move. It was not an easy decision for the commissioner," he said. "However, it was one that he made after multiple discussions with many members of the community."

The school board has until Sunday to send their notice of appeal.

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