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Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 12:32am
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — The new Board of Managers for the El Paso Independent School District held their first official meeting Tuesday evening, since being sworn in last Tuesday.
Board members were sworn in last week after being appointed by the Texas Education Agency. The new board replaced the former Board of Trustees that was in place when a widespread cheating scandal was uncovered in the district.
EPISD Board spokesperson, Dee Margo, spoke with Local 4 News before the meeting on Tuesday. When asked how he felt to be holding the first ever Board of Managers meeting, Margo said, "The agenda is kind of overwhelming. If you're referring to fear and trepidation, that could be part of it. But there's just a lot to cover. We're going to bust it. We're going to do the best we can and get up to speed as soon as possible."
At the meeting, EPISD's budget planning team presented a rough draft of a budget to the Board of Managers.
According to the preliminary report, EPISD is expecting an almost $25 million increase in funds for the district in the 2013-2014 school year. The new budget proposes to increase salaries across the board by about 2%, hire some 35 new teachers, including fine arts teachers at elementary schools, and improve employee health insurance. The budget report also calls to reduce pay for sick leave, and cut costs in central office.
Board Managers encouraged the budget planning team to get as much input from campuses and parents as possible during the budget planning process. Board members are expected to attend a budget training workshop this Thursday.
"There are a lot of things that happen at this point of time in the year, every year in every school district so how they deal with those issues, I think will be very important and I think give us an idea of what to expect from this Board until the Commissioner sees fit to pull them off," said Norma De La Rosa, President of the El Paso Teacher's Association.
"We need community involvement. We need people at these board meetings. Not just when a principal is going to get fired, not just when their kid is going to get an award, we need them here at meetings, we need teachers here at meetings, we need community involvement," said Tommy Davis, a science teacher at Franklin High School.
EPISD Board Managers also terminated Andress High School teacher, Christina Castellano's contract, citing "job abandonment."