TEA denies EPISD challenge to board of managers

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 4:49pm

The Texas Education Agency's decision to insert a board of managers to replace the El Paso Independent School Districts board of trustees in light of the cheating scandal unsurfaced is now "final", after a hearing designee denied their challenge to the appointment Thursday.

That, according to TEA officials.

That means TEA Commissioner Michael Williams' five appointees to the board of managers will be finalized once the Dept. of Justice pre-clears them for duty, according to a spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency.

“The people of El Paso are ready to begin the work of restoring full trust in their school district,” said Williams. “More importantly, those who I have appointed to serve on the board of managers are ready to work in the public interest to again make the El Paso ISD a source of pride for their community and state.”

EPISD leaders learned about the decision Thursday.

"I am extremely disappointed with the decision issued by the Designee of the Commissioner of Education, and do not believe that it presents a true picture of the relevant evidence that was introduced at the February 7, 2013 hearing," said EPISD school board president Isela Castañon-Williams in a statement Thursday.

Castañon-Williams does not believe the person TEA designated to review the case was objective.

"Imagine how difficult it must have been for Mr. Timmons, the hearing officer, to consider the evidence impartially, when it was so clear that his boss, Commissioner Williams, wanted the decision to uphold the appointment of the board of managers," she wrote in her statement.

The five people appointed to the board of managers are: former EPWU CEO Ed Archuleta, City of El Paso CFO Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria, former State Rep. Dee Margo, Region 19 Headstart Director Blanca Enriquez, and TEA monitor Judy Castleberry.

Castañon-Williams said they district will continue to fight the appointment.

"We plan to respond to any preclearance submission by TEA to the Department of Justice, in an effort to protect the voting rights of the citizens of the District and the integrity of the upcoming May 11 election," she said.

You can download the Feb. 7 hearing transcript at the link below.

020713_TEA_ElPasoISD Transcript.pdf943.83 KB

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