The public expressed bold opinions during an El Paso Independent School District meeting Tuesday night.
EPISD is trying to rebuild community confidence after its former superintendent pleaded guilty to defrauding students and allegations of cheating on student test scores that proved to be true.
Out of all of the items on Tuesday’s agenda, including plans to search for a new superintendent, the talker topic was a recent El Paso Times editorial calling for five of the seven board members to resign.
“El Paso times, drop it let go!” one speaker said during the public comment portion of the meeting. “I think we need to move forward and stop blaming people!”
More than two dozen people spoke out during the meeting in front of a packed room.
Speakers included city leaders who are standing by the board.
Though many came to the board’s defense there also was frustration with district dealings that led to stern warnings for trustees.
“All of us, we’re here, we’re gonna watch you,” one speaker said. “We’re not going anywhere. Please just do your job.”
And there was even a bold accusation and a request calling for the interim superintendent, Terri Jordan, to resign.
“Terri, you gotta step down because you know they’re investigating you,” a speaker said.
A steely-faced Jordan did not address that comment but later said, “to heal this district, that is my commitment.”
Several agenda items were approved after trustees listened to public comments:
Approval of the 2012-13 budget, which is more than $462 million.
A decision to transition from plurality to majority elections, pending approval from the proper authority.
A directive to create a community leaders advisory committee to be chaired by the head of the Region 19 Education Center.
The search for a permanent superintendent was on the agenda but trustees deferred that decision because they want the new advisory committee to guide the board on how to go about hiring a new superintendent. That discussion is tentatively set for September.