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EPISD prepares to spend nearly $1 million on TEA mandates

The scandal that rocked the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) may be long gone, however, the after-effects are still being felt.
On Thursday a school board meeting will cover several topics, among them two contracts that will cost the EPISD roughly $1 million. The first contract is listed to oversee the district’s external accounting, auditing or legal services for a cost of $587,685. A second contract is listed for testing process monitoring and evaluation services. It is listed for a $375,485.
According to the EPISD, those contracts are mandatory — the result of a letter sent from the Texas Education Agency back in August.
“EPISD is taking TEA’s requirements extremely seriously,” said spokesperson Renee DeSantos. “We will do what is necessary and required by TEA to move the District district forward.”
Not everyone is confident the EPISD is doing what needs to be done. Frances Wever, a member of Kids First Reform EPISD, said the mandates are too little, too late.
“There is a lot of money on here, and I know it’s going to be upsetting to a lot of people the money it is costing to monitor these tests,” said Wever.
Wever, like others from Kids First Reform EPISD, doesn’t have faith in the actions of EPISD. She questions whether the amount of money being used is worth it, and why the TEA is willing to mandate expensive costs if they too missed the scandal after their own investigation of the EPISD.
“There has been too much emphasis on growing businesses in education rather than educating children,” said Wever. “It needs to stop.”
Currently EPISD is under accredited probation, a status levied by the TEA.
The change stems from the admissions by former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia that supported earlier findings by an EPISD internal auditor. Those issues are tied to the artificial inflation of testing scores.

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