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EPISD Board Requests Review of Appointments

Hayley Kappes, El Paso Times

EPISD Board Requests Review of AppointmentsThe El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees will fight Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams' appointments of a conservator and board of managers to run the district that has been plagued by a cheating scandal.

About 12:15 a.m., trustees unanimously voted to request that the Texas Education Agency review the commissioner's appointments.

TEA officials must receive both requests for review no later than Sunday, according to a letter dated Dec. 6 that Williams sent interim Superintendent

Vernon Butler and board President Isela Castanon-Williams.

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The record review of the board of managers must be done within 30 calendar days after the TEA receives the district's request, according to the Texas Administrative Code.

After the record review, the agency will issue a final ruling that might include changes or additions to Williams' initial decision.

Reviews of the board of managers and conservator appointments will happen in the same proceeding.

The board also decided to submit an appeal to the U.S. Department of Justice in response to the TEA's request for pre-clearance of the appointment of the board of managers.

The federal Voting Rights Act requires the state to receive Justice Department approval for replacing

an elected board.

Trustees accused the commissioner of disenfranchising El Paso voters.

Castanon-Williams read a statement after the meeting, but declined to answer questions from the media.

When asked why she wouldn't respond to questions about the board's decision, Castanon-Williams said, "Because we're done."

"The voters are best suited to decide who should take charge of the district, not the political appointee who is unaccountable to the voters," Castanon-Williams said in

reference to the education commissioner, whom Gov. Rick Perry appointed last summer to lead the TEA. ___