EL PASO, Texas - Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams was in the spotlight Thursday. People of the community got to ask him questions at a Texas Tribune symposium at UTEP.
Commissioner Williams called El Paso Independent School District's board of managers one of the strongest school boards in the state of Texas. ABC-7 wanted to know what he thinks about goals that were set by administrators this week.
"I'm quite proud of the board of managers for handling the problems they've been presented with and the work they've been doing," Commissioner Williams said. He had nothing but good things to say about El Paso's largest school district.
When asked how he feels about recent consolidation talks accidentally being released to the media, he had this to say, "State law says that a board of managers has all the rights, privileges, powers and authority as a elected board of trustees."
Just this week, EPISD's board of managers released a list of new goals and vision moving forward. President Dee Margo informed Commissioner Williams of what they are.
"I just informed him here at this conference about how we all came together, the elected trustees and the board of managers, to bless the goals and objectives in the vision statement we set out," Margo said.
The goals involve requiring all high school graduates to complete some sort of community service and administrators are aiming to have a facilities plan, which includes consolidating and retiring facilities, by Sept. 1 this year.
"Maintain accountability systems that hold people in check. Districts all across the state are doing it," Commissioner Williams said. He added that he visits El Paso often and sees how the rest of Texas can learn from EPISD.
"We can learn a lot from El Paso about how we go about the business of educating a very different demographic than perhaps the state has educated in the past," Commissioner Williams added.
When Commissioner Williams was asked if other districts are dealing with major budget shortfalls like EPISD administrators previously said they are, he instead focused on the importance of reducing the secondary-education gap.