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Thousands Of Dollars Spent On Public Relations Help For EPISD

How much help does the El Paso Independent School District need to talk to the media, and how much is it costing taxpayers?

ABC-7 dug through records requested from the El Paso Independent School District to find out. Documents show the district hired a Houston-based public relations firm in April to shape the way damaging district information was delivered.

EPISD has an in-house communications team, but since 2010, three people have been laid off and its director left. That is according to EPISD’s only remaining communications specialist who is among the administrators who got help from the outside consultants.

The PR firm the district hired was Drive West Communications, which charged the district $200 per hour. There’s a $49,000 limit on the arrangement and more than $13,000 have already been paid by EPISD.

Most of that money went to help EPISD deliver news about alleged cheating by administrators within the district. At an April 24 news conference, interim superintendent Dr. Terri Jordan relied on statements the Houston company helped draft instead of directly answering questions.

Emails and invoices show Drive West’s services included statement revisions, conference calls, and a trip to El Paso.

Watch video of ABC-7’s full report for specific examples on how Drive West Communications advised EPISD administrators.

Article Topic Follows: News

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