Canutillo ISD still waiting for response from TEA on if EPISD investigation would affect Canutillo ISD

EL PASO, Texas - A one-sided correspondence between the Canutillo Independent School Board of Trustees and Texas Education Agency wasn't surprising to Frances Wever.

"I think they cover up anything that happens, said Wever, "They don't want anything to go public to make them look bad it's very political...and the commissioners new so he can't look bad yet."

Wever, a founding member of kids first reform El Paso Independent School District PAC, was surprised to find out the letter that'd gone unanswered for over almost a month, was addressed to the newly-appointed Commissioner.

"That scares me," said Wever. " I'm very disappointed that (Williams) didn't answer and say I've passed it on to someone to answer or someone to look into it..There should have been some response if the letter was addressed to him."
Williams vowed to purge the system of any educators who had a hand in the EPISD cheating scandal during a September conference in El Paso,"We're not going to take forever. And I know how to make a decision, and I know how to make one expeditious."

This spring EPISD released documents indicating Cantuillo's superintendent Dr. Damon Murphy may  have given administrators directives to carry out transcript and grade-level manipulation while working as an assistant superintendent for the El Paso Independent School District.

The Canutillo school board sent Williams a letter, dated Nov. 6, expressing concern that the TEA would expect the board to take action, "because our current superintended worked at EPISD." On Tuesday CISD board president, Armando Rodriguez said even after the board reached out by phone to the TEA, for a second time, on Friday, the board had not heard back.

Rodriguez and school board vice president Leticia Gonzalez met with Willilams and State Rep. Marisa Marquez behind closed doors at Region 19 headquarters Thursday. The closed-door meeting took place after Williams held a news conference to announce he was appointing a board of managers to oversee EPISD.

After the meeting, Rodriguez declined to say what he spoke to Williams about and would not say if the conversation had to do with any previous communications he may have had with Williams. He did say this is the first time he has spoken to Williams in Williams' four visits to El Paso.

ABC-7 placed a phone call to TEA Spokesman Gene Acuna on Wednesday to discuss the letter. Acuna asked the conversation not be recorded, because he called the correspondence a, "local issue". When asked why the TEA had not responded to CISD's letter Acuna also said it was, "a local issue, being dealt with on a local level." Acuna, however, did confirm the TEA had received the letter from the CISD school board.

"It's better off if people don't know something, that's almost the attitude (the TEA) has," said Wever. "the problem is, we're talking about students here and were talking about an education they're not getting, and that's not fair. I don't care how TEA look. I don't care how any politician looks. The bottom line is what happens to those students."

In November Wwilliams announced the TEA plans to audit itself to find out how they missed the elaborate scheme that denied EPISD students of a proper education.

Thursday Rodriguez and the vice president of the CISD school board both spoke with Williams behind closed doors, after Williams held a meeting in El Paso to appoint a new board of managers to oversee El Paso schools.

The discussion was had hours before the Thursday night CISD school board meeting. According to the agenda that was posted Monday night, the board will discuss the results of an internal audit and Murphy's contract of employment with Canutillo ISD, and possible action, will first be discussed in executive session and then in open session.

The special meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Canutillo ISD Administration Office, 7965 Artcraft, El Paso, Texas.

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