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EPISD Superintendent Cabrera to talk about email with proposed campus plans
By: Elizabeth O'Hara
EL PASO, Texas - Twenty-four hours after El Paso Independent School District Superintendent Juan Cabrera backed out of an interview with KFOX14 regarding an email accidentally sent to the station with proposed campus changes, the district announced he will address the media.
The press conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday at EPISD headquarters.
An email sent to KFOX14 Wednesday revealed plans for possible changes at the district -- including plans to combine long-time rivals at Bowie and Jefferson high schools.
The email was accidentally sent to the KFOX14 news desk by district spokeswoman Renee de Santos. It included four bullet points: the rebuilding of Irvin High School with the reallocation of bond money from the demolition of Crosby Elementary School, the closing of Schuster and Zavala elementary schools for use as maintenance offices, the moving of EPISDs central office to northeast El Paso by Cohen Stadium, and the combining of Bowie and Jefferson high schools into a combined Southside school.
It is not clear who the email was intended to reach.
De Santos requested KFOX14 not broadcast the contents of the email citing concerns that Cabrera had not shared the plans with the Board of Managers, school board, assistant superintendents or the principals of the campuses involved.
EPISD agreed to a one-on-one interview with Cabrera if KFOX14 allowed the district 24hours to reach its staff. However, as of Thursday afternoon, it appeared several of the stakeholders had still not been contacted. District spokeswoman Vanessa Monsisvais told KFOX14 Cabrera would take no questions regarding the districts plans.
EPISDs Public Relations Office, where de Santos works, would not return calls or emails from KFOX14 Thursday. Instead the office sent a press release to the El Paso media downplaying the email and the districts plans.
We regret that a single media outlet drives such a premature discussion that hasnt been fully vetted with all impacted partners including our Board of Managers and future trustees, the release said.
The press release stated Cabreras concern with a $9 million funding deficit.
Decreased enrollment and significant increases in health care costs are causing us to make the most fiscally prudent use of the tax dollars allotted to us, he said.
The closing of schools and/or the combining of campuses to save money is not a new approach for EPISD. Zavala and Schuster elementary schools were both considered for closure in 2009 and again in 2011. At the time, EPISD believed closing the schools would save the district about $2.5 million. A massive public outcry helped sway the school board from shuttering the campuses.
Crosby Elementary School has never before been earmarked for closure but according to the email KFOX14 obtained, it appears the district is discussing its demolition. According to the districts website, it was built in 1959 and is part of the Irvin High School feeder pattern. The districts website reports 600 students attend the campus with about 60 staff and faculty members.
Bowie and Jefferson high schools have rich histories as the El Pasos south side schools, each with strong alumni groups
Stay with KFOX14, which will have team coverage on the districts response to our coverage starting on KFOX14 News at Five and Nine.