EPISD Board of Managers wants parents to call them directly

EPISD Accessibility

EL PASO, Texas - The new Board of Managers at the El Paso Independent School District is getting right to work. But part of its job will be to answer parent and teacher concerns, a task that has yet to be addressed.

Elected trustees are assigned to the schools in their district, that way parents know who to call with their concerns. But there is no such designation for the new board of managers.

On EPISD's website, there's a list of the new board of managers. This list will eventually have their contact info posted, but who parents should call has yet to be determined.

"None of us are going to have closed doors," said the managers' spokesman, Dee Margo.

Contacting board members is key, according to former trustee and District 1 candidate Rocio Benedicto, who said she spent 200 hours a month volunteering as a trustee, taking 10-15 calls a week.

Former board President Isela Castanon-Williams said she received anywhere from 15-25 calls, not including emails. She says it's a full-time job and people have gotten used to having a hands-on, accessible board of trustees.

Margo was asked if the managers were ready for this kind of responsibility and he said absolutely -- call them directly.

"We're all El Pasoans," Margo said. "Several of us, if not all of us have children that go to EPISD or graduated from EPISD. I would say we have a pretty strong vested interest in the outcome."

But some school board candidates are expecting a liaison-like role between their voters and the board if they win this Saturday's election.

"I would look forward to working with them," said Omar Villa, running for District 1.

"Provide them with information about the Northeast and hope they listen," said James Lamonica, running for District 5.

When asked if he's open to the help of elected trustees, Margo said no, that he doesn't want filtered information. He recommends concerned parents contact the school's chain of commands and after that process has been exhausted, call the manager of your choice.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams also said he will be in communication with El Paso parents, but didn't say how. For now, EPISD said it will post each manager's contact information later in the week.

For more information on all the school board candidates running for office, visit KVIA's Election Center.

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