EPISD responds amid possible plans to combine, close schools
Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 10:26 PM MST
By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- An email accidentally sent to KFOX14 Wednesday by an El Paso Independent School District spokeswoman detailed possible plans to consolidate, close and even knock down schools in the district.
KFOX14 agreed to hold the information for 24 hours after we were promised an interview with EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera.
Cabrera backed out of the interview.
Thursday, a member of the district gave KFOX 14 an on-camera interview for the first time.
"The problem is you all in the media felt like it was imperative that this thing come out today so fine, we're responding," said Dee Margo, EPISD Board of Managers president.
Margo said the ideas accidentally sent to us by the district were just that, ideas.
It was reportedly a brain-storming session between three staff members.
Nothing was set in stone nor did it vet enough to present to the board of managers.
"It was totally premature, and that's why we requested that you all would wait until we had a little more flesh around this bone to be able to present," Margo said.
Margo worried about the consequences if KFOX14 released the information.
"We haven't had a chance to visit with the community members who are involved. The parents of the respective schools, the teachers and the principals weren't even involved," Margo said.
Lucy Clarke, the president of the El Paso Association of Teachers, said the news came as a shock and she has several concerns.
"The damage to the community, the school neighborhood because that school is no longer there. And I think that has a huge impact on our students and on our families," Clarke said.
Clarke also worries teachers may have to find new schools to work at or hourly employees may lose their jobs altogether.
Margo said jobs haven't even been discussed.
"It has nothing whatsoever to do with personnel or staffing," Margo said.
Margo said bottom line: the district is facing $9 million in state funding cuts this year because of low enrollment numbers and it has to save money.
"When you have a high school at 1,000 or less students, it's not maximized its physical capacity to its potential," Margo said.
"I want to see the communities listened to. I want the best interest of our clientele, and that's the children," Clarke said.
Margo told KFOX 14 since these are just ideas, there's no set timetable on when anything will happen.