EPISD bonds–portable education?

October 21, 2016

We might be getting a glimpse of what could happen to the students at the EPISD high schools that the district’s board wants us to approve money for.

The neighboring Ysleta Independent School District was successful in getting the voters to approve $93 million to rebuild Eastwood high school last year.

Ysleta plans to handle the reconstruction by sending it’s ninth graders to a middle school and placing other students in portable classrooms.

Word on the street is that Ysleta is preparing to install 65 portables on the campus for the months and years it will take to tear down old buildings and build new ones.

Cato may have been prescient when he wrote We’ed be better off  back in 2013.

We deserve better


County hospital board goes dark

October 20, 2016

If you are interested in following the activities of our county hospital board, good luck.

The board meeting packets contain the backup information supporting the agenda items.  The latest packet that they have posted is for the August 9, 2016 board meeting.  Here we are in October and they have not had time to make the items available.

The board meeting packets should be made available before the board meetings so that the public can be informed.  Granted, there is no law requiring this.

They used to post the meeting packets before the meeting.

Is is just a coincidence that our former city chief financial officer is now a member of the hospital board?

We deserve better


EPISD bonds–a binding (but secret) resolution

October 19, 2016

The Times did a great job the other day of letting us know some details about the Wednesday, September 28, 2016 meeting the EPISD board held that we wrote about in EPISD bonds–secret discussions.

Lindsey Anderson of the Times wrote:

Trustees say their promise to not change the 2016 bond project list will be binding for current and future school boards.  Four of the seven board seats will be up for election in May.

Byrd said voters could take the resolution to the Texas Attorney General’s Office if they felt EPISD reneged on its promises.  The trustees were briefed on those possible ramifications during a closed meeting.


Why is it that they needed to go into closed session, where the public could not hear the facts,  in order to discuss the public’s ability to protest a potential future change to the projects the bonds might fund?  If they want us to believe that the boards can be held accountable, why wouldn’t they let us know how to do it?  Why didn’t we get to hear the discussion between the board members so that we could have a better understanding of how they felt about the issue?

Why didn’t she tell us about our rights when the appointed board of managers shifted the 2007 money?

We deserve better


Eminent domain

October 18, 2016

The city has chosen their preferred site for the arena.

In a recent Times article many city officials were quoted as saying that they do not believe that the use of the city’s eminent domain powers will be necessary.

While they are saying that the Times tells us that “The City Council will vote Tuesday on a resolution to activate the city’s eminent domain authority”.

We deserve better


EPISD bonds–another threat to their finances

October 17, 2016

Just when we think that we have heard the arguments for and against the proposed EPISD bonds, we learn this from a USA TODAY reporter:

“A proposal to allow parents to use a portion of their local school property taxes to offset expenses for private tuition, tutoring and other education options for their children likely will be presented to the Legislature next year in a form designed to crack through what has been a solid wall of opposition.”

Presentations will be made today, Monday, October 17, 2016 to the house public education committee.

In 2015 the state supplied 50% of the district’s revenue.

If parents are given the right to reallocate some of their tax money away from the district what effect will that have on the district’s budget and its ability to pay for things like the bonds?

We deserve better


EPISD bonds–flexible if nothing else

October 16, 2016

Remember the Times building that our former city chief financial officer told us did not need much work in order for the city to move in?  ” Minimal due to condition of building” is the term she used in a presentation to city council.

The city told us before the moves that the cost would be about $33 million.  We have been able to document actual costs north of $70 million on this blog.

Shortly after our new city manager arrived she left the city.  The new people at the city have spoken publicly about the mess that the city’s finances were in when they started work.

Now she is the deputy superintendent of finance and operations at EPISD and is continuing her flexible approach to fulfilling promises.  When the Times recently asked her about $19 million of 2007 EPISD bond money that has yet to be even allocated the Times published this:

EPISD Chief Financial Officer Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria said the money could be used to bolster the 2016 bond plan “in the vent the board wants to allocate those dollars for something additionally or maybe if a project doesn’t come out with everything the board wants, the community wants.”

In other words, their estimates for the current projects may not be right and this money could be a neat slush fund.

We deserve better


People do make choices

October 15, 2016

I spoke with a prominent El Pasoan the other day about the El Paso Times.

He said that walking through his neighborhood on Sunday mornings he sees more copies of El Paso, Inc. and El Diario de El Paso in driveways than he does the Times.

We deserve better



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