EPISD Board reveals reason behind high Weaver audit costs

EL PASO, Texas - It's now coming to light why El Paso Independent School District had to pay forensic auditing firm Weaver nearly $800,000 to investigate district-wide cheating.

In a discussion during Tuesday's board meeting, Board Vice President David Dodge told the audience Weaver exercised bad business practices and took the board by surprise.

Last year the company told the board it would cost about $600,000 to investigate.
but last month they requested an additional $200,000 to finish the job they started. The board agreed again to pay Weaver more money, but according to Dodge, Weaver needed more money because they weren't honest in their initial assessment.

"What I would have hoped for is before January 22nd is that if we're going to have almost a $200,000 add to their contract that we would have heard about it," said Dodge.

What the board didn't hear about was that Weaver was using senior partners who were paid more per hour instead of junior partners who were paid less.

For example, an employee paid $325 an hour was used more often then one paid only $115 an hour. But according to Dodge, Weaver told him they needed more money only because the investigation was expanding to more campuses, not that higher paid employees were working more or in place of lower paid employees.

Dodge said Weaver knew weeks before that their bill was increasing beyond their estimate and they didn't tell the board anything.

"Weaver assuming they're a good business, knew daily and weekly the hours they were spending on this program when they made this decision they were going to spend more time on the forensic end of it," Dodge said. "At that point, Butler should have been told, but he wasn't, we should have been told, but we weren't."

According to both Dodge and Interim Superintendent Vernon Butler who said the results are worth every penny in order to purge the district of dishonest employees.

EPISD also voted to end a academic requirement that may have lead to cheating. Under former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia students had to achieve at least 1/2 a an algebra credit to become a sophomore. The board unanimously voted to revise that requirement.

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