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EPISD moves to consolidate departments, save taxpayers thousands of dollars

By: Joshua Zuber
EL PASO, Texas The El Paso Independent School District made some moves that could save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

EPISD officials merged the curriculum and instruction and evaluation, testing and accountability departments, and administrators said its to better prepare students to graduate as well as save $600,000.

The change is thanks to new state requirements for students to graduate high school, and they will take effect in the fall. State legislation reduced the number of state-required tests to graduate high school.

Administrators said its a good response to the change while some educators said it is bad planning.

What weve done really since those tests no longer exist we are moving our resources back to more of a K-12 perspective, said James Steinhauser, associate superintendent.

That means 37 positions will be reorganized -- 25 will stay in the new department while 12 will be offered teaching or other jobs in the district.

This is a concern because these people that work in these positions are basically our liaisons. Theyre our source of information. Theyre the ones that provide training for us as academic coaches, for teachers on the campuses when it comes to new standards working with the curriculum and so forth, said Norma De La Rosa, president of the El Paso Teachers Association.

Steinhauser seems to think otherwise.

Right now we dont need the resources at the high school. I think we have the people in place to do the job we need to have done, Steinhauser said.

The new department organization will be unveiled to staff on Thursday.