EPISD's action to remove campus leaders draws criticism from County Judge Veronica Escobar

Jerry Najera, Multimedia Journalist
POSTED: 11:46 AM MDT Mar 31, 2013    UPDATED: 05:56 PM MST Jan 15, 2014 
El PASO, Tx -

EPISD's removal of four principals has led to more backlash.

Students, parents and teachers protested the removal of Austin High School principal John Tanner earlier this week.

Saturday evening County Judge Veronica Escobar sent a letter to the district's interim superintendent Vernon Butler criticizing the recent actions.

One might think parents, teachers and students would be happy the EPISD school board looks like it's cleaning house, but it could be quite the opposite.

"I respect Dr. Butler. I think he is doing a very good job of trying to bring reform to a district that badly needs it," Escobar said.

Escobar told ABC-7 she was speaking as an EPISD student mother and she thinks the district may have acted in haste.

"What we have said is that you need to take responsible action," said Escobar.

Escobar feels some of the school board's recent decisions could be reactions to mounting pressure from the community.

The Parent of a El Paso high school student, Ken Slavin, says he feels the same way.
"It seems like a process that's gone off the rails. There is a lot going on that makes no sense," said Slavin.

Slavin's son is a senior at El Paso High and thinks highly of principal Kristine Ferret. "She is incredibly intelligent, incredibly competent. She has done outstanding things at El Paso High," said Slavin.

Slavin tells ABC-7 it's almost like a last-ditch attempt by the board. "Seems like the TEA and the interim superintendent is just looking to say they're doing something and they are harming lives, families and these people's reputation, especially Ferret who's impeccable in ethic and in ability. And there doing it in a knee-jerk reaction to say we've done something."

Maritza Mota a student at El Paso High says the decisions made by her district leaders don't add up.

"She came in after Garcia, she came after the scandal, she was put in that position 15 months ago, she was cleaning up the mess," said Mota.

Her sister Victoria, feels principle Ferret took on the task and made it count. "At El Paso High, she's been the best principal and I've had three principals, she cares," said Victoria.

For Slavin it seems as though the district is taking a step back, not moving forward. "Something wrong is going on here and the people need to stand up and say enough. Its got to stop, sanity has got to be retired because they are hurting our kids almost as much as Garcia did."

EPISD interim superintendent Vernon Butler sent this statement a few hours after notice of county judge Veronica Escobar's letter:

"We understand the concern that recent events have caused in the community. The district is currently assessing personnel issues that may be connected to the illegal acts of the previous superintendent.

"These personnel actions are being handled with great care and any action as a result will not be made hastily, while we appreciate the county judge's efforts to share her concern with the district, these are personnel issues that will not debated in the media."

ABC-7 spoke with EPISD spokesperson Renee De Santos. De Santos said EPISD will release the forensic audit of the district by the WEAVER group on Monday on their website.