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Judge dismisses lawsuit by EPISD elected trustee against board manager

By Leonard Martinez
Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:08:51 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 08:09:04 PM CST
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EL PASO, Texas -

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by elected school board trustee Chuck Taylor.

The lawsuit, which was dismissed on Wednesday, was filed against El Paso Independent School District Board of Managers President Dee Margo and Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams.

Because the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice it cannot be re-filed.

Taylor filed the lawsuit because he said they violated the law by not swearing him into office.

"He (Margo) told me I was just an ordinary citizen and I had no status," Taylor said in mid-October. "That I didn't accept. Seat me in my office so I can then start to exercise the prerogatives of that office for the public that put me in that office."

Williams announced in early Dec. 2012 that he was appointing a five-member Board of Managers to take over EPISD. The Board of Managers was sworn in on May 7, 2013 and can serve up to two years.

“We have an opportunity to meet with the other board of managers to come up with some objectives to how we can actually transition,” said Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria, EPISD Board of Managers Secretary, on ABC-7 Xtra in mid-November. “I believe that the Board of Trustees, that they should have educational training opportunities so that they're ready to take the reigns when we leave, that they should also have the opportunity to be engaged. But we really need to just talk about that. And make sure that everyone's on board and that we have a good pathway when that time comes.”

In mid-October, recently elected school board member Susie Byrd asked that the Board of Managers place an item on the agenda on how elected school board members can be better included.

Byrd recommended the board email trustees notices of coming meetings, agendas and alerts on hot button issues. She said being in "the know" will groom trustees to take over after the Board of Managers steps down.

"If we're given really a full opportunity to engage for the next year and a half in training, and engaging, we'll be a really great board," Byrd said in mid-October. "But if at the end of their term they're like 'surprise, your're the new board, I don't think that benefits the students or the district."

Arrieta-Candelaria said the Board of Managers has received positive feedback on the actions they have taken since being sworn in.

“We are trying to do all the things we were initially told we needed to do - hire a supeintendent, to bring some stability to the district and we're focused on trying to improve and provide guidance on policy direction, on governance,” Arrieta-Candelaria said in mid-November. “And I've gotten a lot of feedback from a lot of people saying about the good things that we're doing. We recognize that our tenure is limited - we'll be out in 18 months. Our goal is really to ensure we have a smooth transition at that time. And to help Mr. Cabrera in the interim period to do some of that heavy lifting we still feel we need to do.”

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