EPISD–2016 legal services

This came in from Dan Wever:

EPISD 2016 legal services


Was looking at some stuff and came across this figure totaled from TEA data.

This is a WOW to me.

22 Responses to EPISD–2016 legal services

  1. ripper1951 says:

    Would be interesting to find out how much was spent on settling wrongful termination actions, EEOC settlements, and so on. Especially unsettling since EPISD has in house counsel and legal department.


  2. And, how many of the lawyers who got money from EPISD were local? I’d say that’s a wow all around.


  3. Tim Holt says:

    A single figure is meaningless unless it is put into some kind of context.

    What does “Legal Services” encompass for instance?
    (I am not knowledgable of this particular number, however, I suppose this includes the budget for the entire legal department in EPISD which was put into place by the State monitors and the Board of Managers. There are more staff in that department than just a single lawyer.)

    How does this compare to other districts of similar size?

    What is the breakdown for this item?

    Most districts use TASB for some legal services. Does this include the payments to them? I am sure it does.

    Does this amount differ substantially from previous years spending?

    Was there some kind of extenuating legal circumstance that required a larger allocation? For instance, was there a lawsuit or lawsuits that required some sort of large allocation?

    Just throwing a number out without context can be misleading.

    Perhaps Dan can provide a breakdown of this number seeing as he seems to have the ability to access specific budget data. Not everything that seems nefarious is nefarious.

    Or perhaps one could simply call the EPISD Finance Department on Monday and ask for a breakdown.


    • Dan Wever says:

      Tim, I do not have special powers to access the information. It is available for anyone who has questions as you do. Here is the link that will give you all the information you want. It gives you the PEIMS data for every nickle spent in Texas by every school district. Have fun! 🙂



    • Chico says:

      … and Deputy Dawg … not everything that seems nefarious is benevolent … as your recurrent posts seem to suggest.

      Mr. Wever is a watch dog. Watch dogs look for things that appear inappropriate. That’s what they do.

      Moreover, all he said in the original post is “This is a WOW to me.” He did not make any specific allegations of nefariousness. His language was quite tactful.

      For a “public servant,” you sure aren’t comfortable getting feedback from the public, Mr. Holt. Frankly, this is one of EPISD’s biggest problems. Its leaders don’t want honest or critical feedback from parents or taxpayers. Much like the bond “advisory” committee, Cabrera/Fenonbock et. al. prefer to hear from their political supporters and their own echo chamber.

      While public feedback is messy and complicated, it’s probably the most important factor in the integrity of our public institutions.

      I don’t always agree with Mr. Wever. I sometimes think he falls down a rabbit hole or two. Having said that, I sure am grateful that’s he watching the details. Our community needs more like him. Keep up the good work, Dan.


      • Tim Holt says:

        Chico, I merely stated that a dollar amount put out with little or no context behind it is not enough information for anyone to make a positive or negative decision about.

        He could have just as easily said $10 billion dollars. Wow! Or $100. Wow!

        Has nothing to do with me being a public servant or not.

        I understand Mr. Wever’s role as he has done it for many years. Sometimes he is correct, sometimes, as you said, he chases rabbits down a rabbit hole.

        When I post here, I am in no way speaking for the EPISD. I am speaking as a tax paying private citizen who happens to be employed by the EPISD. You seem to forget that I too pay taxes.

        Just as I state on my blog, my opinions are my own. Not those of my employer.


        • chico says:

          You keep insisting that you are “in no way speaking for the EPISD.” Officially, your point is well taken. However, when you are an Executive Director in an organization and you take a position on a public forum, you do represent the organization to some extent. It’s the nature of management. Simply asserting your position doesn’t take that away … and that, my friend, is why I remain “Chico.”


  4. Propagandists and Spin Masters Stink says:

    I retired from El Paso ISD not long ago and I worked at central. Tim is right on only one thing. The TEA conservator and The Board of Managers did put an In House Legal Counsel in place. This was supposed to be cost-cutting and to get quicker legal answers. Boy were they wrong. Cabrera and company hired a very nice lady from a Margo related law firm whose specialty is Contracts and Real Estate. Hmm… I wonder why… she is very good at what she does but had little to no experience in school law. So getting good answers quicker went out the window. Cabrera then began to use her as his personal attorney and takes her to all the luncheons, parties and awards ceremonies so she doesn’t have time to do her job. That’s why they grew a department like Tim says. So cost-cutting flies out the window. Now enter wrongful terminations and harassing employees and grievances and legal issues concerning buying and selling buildings etc, The emperors new clothes! Notice I didn’t mention Special Education. The district has another outside law firm that handles all the Special Education issues. So Tim is right. It is all one FOI request away. But they a’int gonna give you jack because of attorney client privilege. And the legal advice probably should’ve kept Fenenbucks from rigging the Board Election for President. Velarde was robbed of the chance to self-nominate because Fenenbucks only took one candidate for president and denied other nominations. This was to keep Board President on the Westside. The lawyer should have recognized this and stopped it but she didn’t.


  5. Board Elections Video says:

    Watch the election of Board Officers here:


    • Dan Wever says:

      It did not make any difference that Al was not able to be nominated. They had the 4 votes already for their candidate so the result would have been the same. Yes it was fixed! IMHO 🙂


  6. Payout? says:

    So today is July 17. Back when the superintendent got his gigantor raise, he also got extra sick days and vacation days. The Times covered a statement in his contract that says that any vaction days that will be unused as of July 17 will be paid out as a lump sum in the amount of almost $50,000 in addition to the $45,000 raise. In the interview, Fenenbucks said she hadn’t seen this in the contract and that it must be an error and that the board would have to revise the contract. But none of that ever happened. So the question is, since today is July 17, how many vacation days were used and how much of a lump sum payment is Cabrera getting after today’s deadline? Did his raise just go up by $50,000???? If so, then his raise is in excess of $95,000!!! Here is the link to the Times story: http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/education/episd/2017/02/10/episd-leaders-new-contract-includes-more-perks/97666370/


    • Dan says:

      And don’t forget the 4% contract raise that he got which is over $13,000 more. The board president told me that he was going to forgo this contract raise that is tied to the teachers raise in that he gets the same percentage the teachers got. They would have to amend his contract if he did not get it but I have seen nothing about it so by law he got it.


  7. Payout? says:

    I guess I got it wrong. He has to take 35 vacation days between July 17 and July 30. Anything he doesn’t use gets paid out. Problem is there aren’t 35 days between July 17 and July 30!


  8. Dan says:

    $272,162 is what Socorro ISD spent on Legal Services 6211 Legal Services in 2016.


  9. Dan says:

    Oops, I made a very bad mistake on this post. I do not understand how it happened but when dealing with 4 million lines of information I guess crazy things can happen. This legal fees figure is way way off. Looking at it on a newer database the figure is $541,567
    I don’t make many mistakes but when I do they are doozies. Sorry Guys. 😦 😦


    • Tim Holt says:

      Thank you Dan for clarifying.
      I was looking at the database you linked to and could not find the 5 million dollar figure.
      Will look forward to see how the rightous indignation from the comment section is modified in light of your corrected information.

      I appreciate your correction.


      • Dan Wever says:

        Tim, it is good to know that you have never had to respond to bad information and probably never put any out. 🙂 And when you get a steady dose of costly spin from the EPISD, righteous indignation is perfectly normal for most information coming from them. I will give you some more examples you can check in your own C&I.


      • Dan Wever says:

        Tim, you are welcome for the correction. But what I should have said is that you have never said that my information was bad before so I can assume like the EPISD would do that all of it was valid. And many people responded with righteous indignation to many of my valid posts but you never said anything about them so I guess you were just lucky in picking the one mistake I made to puff up your beloved EPISD and their spin doctors.


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