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By: Bill MeluginEL PASO, Texas -- Newly released documents show around $25,000 was spent remodeling executive offices at the El Paso Independent School District while the district faces a $17 million budget deficit. KFOX14 has been the only TV station investigating the costs associated with the renovations. After more than a week of asking the district about the costs, and having our requests to see the offices denied repeatedly, KFOX14 exclusively obtained multiple EPISD purchase orders from an anonymous source on Wednesday showing $9,500 had been spent renovating Superintendent Juan Cabrera's office. Shortly after that, EPISD promised KFOX14 a tour of the offices, and a full list of all expenditures. On Thursday, we received our full open records request, and were given a full tour of the offices. District officials gave KFOX14 a walkthrough of several administrative offices that were renovated – offices were combined and walls were knocked down. Cabrera’s office included all of the items listed in the purchase orders including a new glass showcase with glass shelves and doors, new carpeting, a high-capacity refrigerator, a microwave and new conference chairs. EPISD officials said walls were pushed out and 161 square feet was added to the room for extra meeting space, and all of Cabrera’s renovations were done by December. The entire office area was finished a few weeks ago. The district’s new chief of staff Dr. Tom Miller answered some questions about the timing of the renovations. “I'm not sure about what's with the rush, but I know that they needed to complete the work so the rest of the executive team, including myself, could come in and occupy the offices. This is the first time in three years I believe that there's been a full executive team working with the superintendent. So, he wanted to get his team on board, and that's why they did some of the remodeling and things that they did,” Miller said. District officials said that although the $25,000 sounds like a lot of money, it isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. Officials said these renovations were very necessary.
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