Originally published way back on 7 September 2016
The El Paso Independent School District wants us to give them $669 million because, uh, something, something, deferred maintenance, uh, consolidation, uh, Socorro, technology, efficiency, um.
What’s the real issue here?
So far I haven’t heard a succinct answer.
The kids aren’t getting educated? The deterioration of the schools presents a health hazard?
If the District can’t tell us what the problem is, I’m not sure we should give them two thirds of a billion dollars to solve it. And if they don’t know what the problem is, I suspect the money won’t help.
The one issue that the spokespeople for the District keep repeating is the loss of market share.
Here’s Board President Dori Fenenbock, in a story from KVIA:
The number of students enrolling in the El Paso Independent School District is falling by more than one-thousand every year, leading to a loss of about $6 million in funding every year, district officials said.
“That’s about the size of a small high school,” said EPISD Board of Trustees President Dori Fenenbock. “And we’re not just going to sit back and accept that. We’re going to change the trend.”
And here’s Superintendent Juan Cabrera, in an interview in this week’s El Paso Inc.:
“For us to be able to compete with Socorro … Every major legacy city has a Socorro. Dallas has Frisco. Houston has Sugarland and all these districts.”
I’m not sure that losing market share is a legitimate concern for a school district. School districts are not, per se, money making operations. School districts are supposed to have loftier goals.
I’m sure that (almost) everyone involved with this bond proposal is a good person with good intentions. But if they can’t even articulate the problem, two thirds of a billion dollars won’t solve it.