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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 12:23am
At a meeting Tuesday afternoon, a new Board of Managers for the El Paso Independent School District was sworn in by a judge to officially replace the former Board of Trustees.
Dee Margo was elected President, Ed Archuleta, who was out of the country for a business meeting, will serve as Vice-President, and Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria was appointed Secretary.
"It is my hope that in short order, that new Board of Managers can do the principle job that I'm asking them to do and that's to restore a sense of confidence and trust," said Texas Education Commissioner, Michael Williams, at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Williams first decided to remove the former Board's power in December citing "public distrust," after a widespread cheating scandal involving former superintendent, Lorenzo Garcia and others, unfairly forced kids out of school, held them back, or bumped them up.
"it is my intent, it is my desire, it is my hope that we're going to turn this district back over and to allow El Pasoans to run El Paso," said Williams.
But some members of the community remained skeptical and said they weren't yet ready to welcome the new Board with open arms.
"Unfortunately, I feel like there is a political entity that is larger and they're the ones that are pulling the strings. I hope I'm wrong, but I will be watching them," said Maria Dolores Salomon, an EPISD parent.
Some parents and teachers questioned the way the Department of Justice and Commissioner Williams appointed the new Board.
"A more effective and American way to remove school board members is by a vote," said Tommy Davis, a science teacher at Franklin High School.
"If it's just the Managers that are going to be taking over everything, then I feel like my constitutional right to be heard by using my vote, is going to be violated," said Salomon.
The new Board of Managers argued their intentions for EPISD are pure and insisted they're committed to serving the public.
"We're all El Pasoans. Several of us, if not all of us, have children who either graduated from EPISD or are still in EPISD. So, I would say we have a pretty strong vested interest in the outcome of this," said Board Manager, Dee Margo.
The new EPISD Board of Managers will meet again next Tuesday, May 14th. Members will focus on creating a budget and choosing a new superintendent.