El Paso ISD conservator explains what's next for district

Krystal Klei, Reporter
POSTED: 07:02 PM MST Dec 07, 2012 
The Texas Education Agency introduces conservator to EPISD
EL PASO, Texas -

ABC-7 spoke with the newly appointed El Paso ISD conservator Friday.

Judy Castleberry was appointed conservator by Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams.

Thursday Williams made the announcement that the state would step in and take over the district, stripping the current board of trustees of their power.

Castleberry explained this motion won't go into affect immediately.

According to Castleberry, who was appointed the title of TEA monitor back in August, the current school board will run as usual for the time being.

Castleberry will "sit on the side," and provide oversight on the board.

Her title as conservator gives her the power to overrule any decisions by the board.

However, Castleberry said her relationship with both the interim superintendent and board trustees has been positive.

"My approach to that will be a collaborative effort, so that we hopefully don't reach too many situations where we're diametrically opposed," Castleberry said.

Castleberry said she wasn't completely surprised by Williams choice to step in.

She said the possibility of becoming conservator has been discussed since she was first appointed to monitor.

Castleberry will act as conservator while the newly developed board of managers works through the approval process.

That can take up to 3 months.

"It's my understanding that the current board of trustees will be suspended, so that board will not be needing or working on district related issues once that occurs," Castleberry said. "All of that responsibility will move to the board of managers."

The board of managers can stay in place for up to two years, but Castleberry said she suspects the choice of a permanent superintendent and dealign with major personnel issues, which have already begun, will not take that long.

The final decision on how long the managers will remain is in Williams' hands.

With the new title and responsibilities, Castleberry will also receive a pay raise. 

As monitor she was paid $75 an hour. The hourly rate for a conservator is bumped up to $85 an hour.