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EPISD’s top academic, operations officials put on leave amid audit

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Two top El Paso ISD administrators were put on leave Monday, two days before the board meets to discuss an internal audit.

El Paso Independent School District Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria and Chief Academics Officer Tamekia Brown were placed on administrative leave with pay Monday, district spokesperson Melissa Martinez said.

Martinez said she could not comment on the action, “as it’s a personnel matter.”

The action comes a day before the Board of Trustees will meet to adopt the next school year’s budget.

On Wednesday, the board will convene again for a special meeting about an internal audit into contracted services for academic programs. The scope of the audit is unknown, as it has not been finalized and posted on the district website.

It is unusual for the board to meet in closed session to discuss a draft audit.

The meeting agenda notes the board could take unspecified action following their discussion “if needed.”

District spokesperson Gustavo Reveles said the audit will not be finalized — and made public — until the district creates a corrective action plan. That plan is due May 27, he said.

Arrieta-Candelaria was hired to manage the district’s finances in May 2016, after she had served on the state-appointed board of managers that led EPISD in the wake of its cheating scandal, and which hired former Superintendent Juan Cabrera.

Cabrera resigned in November and the district is being led by interim superintendent Vince Sheffield.

Brown was hired in 2015, serving as the executive director of academics before being named interim chief academic Officer. She was promoted to the permanent position in July 2017.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Cover photo: El Paso ISD Chief Academics Officer Tamekia Brown, left, and Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria

Disclosure: Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria is a financial supporter of El Paso Matters.

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Molly Smith

Molly Smith has been a reporter for the El Paso Times and The (McAllen) Monitor. She’s covered education, criminal justice and local government. A Seattle native, she’s lived in Texas since 2014, with stops in Austin, the Rio Grande Valley and now El Paso. She can be reached at mksmith@elpasomatters.org or 915-247-8857.

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