POSTED: Thursday, June 21, 2012 - 10:28pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 1:14pm
EL PASO, TX — Could scandal within EPISD hurt El Paso’s economy by scaring off companies that might want to move here?
An economics expert told The El Paso City Council that one of the first questions a new business asks before they decide to call El Paso home is the quality of our public school system, and that worries at least one city representative.
"He said five minutes after a company comes into El Paso, they ask about the educational system and we certainly can't say that we can brag about ours. In fact, I'm embarrassed,” said Rep. Ann Morgan Lilly.
Representative Ann Morgan Lilly says the way The El Paso School District is run means we need to make changes before it scares businesses away.
Cindy Ramos-Davison with The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce says perspective companies frequently ask her about the El Paso school system. She tells them that El Paso might have corrupt district leaders, but we have quality teachers in the classroom.
"We have wonderful young talent in El Paso, just wonderful, waiting to be molded and moved forward and go through the channels of education opportunity, and get away from all of this fighting and bureaucracy,” said Ramos-Davison.
The Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce says when businesses ask about El Paso schools, they don't even attempt to defend former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia.
With recent troubles, Ramos-Davison says EPISD is one more challenge to convince businesses to move to El Paso.
"From my prospective, I've always had to defend our border community about just being a border community,” said Ramos-Davison.
EPISD Board President Isela Castañon-Williams says the district was facing problems before she took office, and she is ready to fix them.
"I'm prepared and I'm committed to standing in the gaps. I'm doing my service as a school board member knowing that this is going to be a very difficult road for us, but I will need your support,” said Castañon-Williams.
The Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce also says they will turn in a list of recommendations to EPISD next week on how the chamber feels the district could regain the community's trust.