The board of managers of the El Paso Independent School District has announced that it is going to build a new central office for the district.
This does not have to happen.
The existing central office is situated on land that belongs to the city. We have been told that the city wants the land and is not willing to renew the lease.
They could, and that would save us somewhere around $50 million.
To make matters worse the decision to build the new facility was taken by a group of people that we did not even elect to run the district for us. They should consider themselves as a caretaker board that needs to clean up the financial and corruption problems while waiting for the people to elect their own representatives later this year.
The board has decided to pay over $1 million to an architecture firm to design the new building. We are not to worry about the money, it is left over from the 2007 bond issue. The thought that we voted for the bonds for specific purposes and that any money left over should be returned to the public evidently is not part of the way these people think.
The new plans will not consider how to replace the planetarium–let’s not have education get in the way of bureaucracy.
What they have not mentioned is that they do not have the money to build the new building. Since the district is shrinking and is operating with a declining budget it does not look like they will be able to come up with the $40 to $50 million that the building will cost according to the estimates the district has made public.
Won’t they have to fund this with a bond election?
Oh, by the way we have an emergency here. The project will have to be “fast-tracked”, which is one of the ways these organizations use to cram things down our throats.
This same group is telling us that they will need to close eight elementary schools because of declining enrollment. The district has about 57 elementary schools right now. No mention has been made of reducing the central office staff proportionately.
Some members of the public wanted to address the board about the school closures the other day. The board decided to put off their decisions to a later day and then refused to listen to anyone from the public. If a member of the public wants to address the board they should be able to, without regard to what else the board is doing.
Using parts of the closing schools to house central office functions has been ruled out. The excuse seems to be lack of parking. The village idiot would take the old playground and turn it into a parking lot but these guys don’t want to.
Here both city council and this temporary board are both conspiring to waste more of our money.
We deserve better