Rubber stamp?

Word is leaking out that the facilities advisory committee formed by EPISD is being railroaded by their facilitators.

We’ve been told that a recent meeting committee members were told that the district’s bond request will probably be $600 million instead of the $500 million that has recently been reported.

We have also been told that when committee members raise objections to simple things like changing the next meeting time the facilitators in effect belittle the objector.

Worse yet committee members were supposedly told that they should not let word of the $600 million leak out to the public.

We deserve better

Brutus

16 Responses to Rubber stamp?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate all of your responses and concerns for our schools. Mr. Weaver is correct, my involvement with EPISD began when I was asked to be a part of the Managers’ Facilities Committee. I was elected by that committee as chair and through that process became very familiar with the status of our school buildings and need to right-size the district. This led me to run for trustee. I was elected in May 2015, then elected president by my fellow trustees. My exposure has given me substantial knowledge in progressive educational reform, equity, school finance and accountability. I am a concerned citizen, like all of you, offering my time (for free) to help our community, as our democratic process is designed to do. It has been an honor. I am by nature an optimist. Our district has been at its lowest point and I am part of a passionate, ethical team determined to build a new district of which our city can boast and, most importantly, our children deserve. I welcome your input and hope to earn your support.

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    • Dan Wever says:

      Ms Fenenbock, don’t you think it would be better on these forums to use your name instead of Anonymous. The power of your position would be better used in my opinion.

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  2. Y Que! says:

    Notice how Fenenbock did not address the increase in the bond amount? The art of obfuscation?

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  3. I would like to correct what could become an inflammatory suggestion, that the EPISD Facilities Advisory Committee is a disingenuous process intended to further a pre-established agenda. This is entirely false. I am concerned particularly with the words used here “railroad, belittle, leak out.”

    Several trustees and I have attended all or most of the Facilities Advisory Committee meetings. We sit quietly in the back and observe to ensure the committee’s authenticity. The meetings are public and anyone is welcome to attend. A reporter from the El Paso Times also attends the meetings and reports regularly on the discussions.

    I am confident that this is an authentic process and there is no set agenda. The citizens committee will decide on school renovation, rebuild and consolidation projects that will be presented to the board in August. The facilitator, Michelle Hughes, is the same used successfully by YISD and has gone to great lengths to establish trust among the committee members and within the community.

    There has been some discord in the fact that the meetings have not been more focused on individual school closures. This is normal. Everyone is anxious to advocate for certain schools. That is not the established process and the facilitator is keeping the group on task which is to select potential bond projects.

    Remember that the committee is comprised of 80 members across the district. Each of them has a passion for an area, school, or program. Let us not regress to the old style of business at EPISD creating chaos to avoid progress.

    We must invest in our schools. The committee is doing incredibly difficult work. If you have concerns, please attend the meetings or contact me directly or any other trustee.

    Dori Fenenbock
    President
    EPISD Board of Trustees

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    • Brutus says:

      I heard two different people use those words to describe a recent meeting.

      Thank you for your good work at the district. I do believe that you are making a good difference.

      Unfortunately like in many organizations there are people below the top that do not share a common set of ethics with the leadership.

      Also thank you for the invitation to attend meetings. I went to the web site and could not find a way to determine where or when the next meeting will occur. Would members of the public that are not committee members be allowed to speak?

      For the record I am for a limited bond issue. Limited in that I would like the district to prove that it can take our money and spend it wisely on the project(s) that we approve, not on others.

      Brutus

      Liked by 1 person

    • Curious says:

      What is the message or meaning of “turningeducation”? All the references I have seen to “turning education on its ear” or “turning education upside down” were related to increased use of video instruction and technology in the classroom.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Turning education from teaching to learning- taking a student centric approach, using personalized learning tools and assessments to ensure every student is prepared for college and careers.

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    • ManintheMoon says:

      Sorry “We must invest in our schools” code words for it’s for the children is not flying with a lot of tax payers and with the administrative bloat in your school distinct and the price tag of 600 million dollars think the tax payers should give your board three guesses what they can do with your bond request. Once again a Lamborghini price tag for Ford Fiesta out comes.

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    • Dan Wever says:

      I would like to respond to Board of Trustee Dori Fenenbock’s comment on Brutus’s comments about the Facilities Advisory Committee.
      Let me remind people of how this committee came about. (Not exactly chronologically exact.)
      The board of Managers wanted information that is usually obtained before a bond issue is presented to the public. A committee was formed and a company was hired. Jacobs Engineering was hired for 1.3 million dollars and the committee that gave them information about the district and the needs of the district was created and chaired by Dori Fenenbock.
      Dori was elected to the board of trustees and the other trustees in turn voted to make her President. Ysleta ISD had a successful bond election and the EPISD was so impressed they hired the same people that ran Ysleta’s bond election to help with the formation of bond election information and consulted on how to accomplish the goal of passing a bond issue. I think it cost over $150,000. One of the main areas this company stressed was community involvement and the EP
      ISD decided to form a Facilities Advisory Committee made up of various factions of community residents and employees. This committee was made up of 78 listed members plus 8 facilitators. with three alternate facilitators.
      Here is a definition of a facilitator I found.
      Definition of facilitator. : one that facilitates; especially : one that helps to bring about an outcome (as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision

      I personally was surprised when I saw the 3 alternate facilitators. Now when we realize that the 78 member committee gets all of their information about what is good or bad about the district from the administration and of course all of the EPISD facilitators, then I think President Fenenbock should be able to understand that anyone with an ounce of common sense would see that the process is more than likely to be viewed as flawed. I applaud the members of the committee but I still feel that a certain result will be obtained and just like baking a cake all the administrative ingredients will be present only when they are added might be a little different but not changing the cake’s finished state. And for the taxpayers and the children of El Paso it will not be a tasty treat. Spending an hour and a half daily riding a bus from your neighborhood to a different school is not going to help our mostly Hispanic neighborhood children.

      PS I am against the closing of schools and the modernization of the district at this time when so many of our students are failing the STAARS test.
      dw

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      • Casual Observer says:

        Dan,

        You say you are “against the closing of schools and the modernization of the district at this time when so many of our students are failing the STAARS test.”

        What does one have to do with the other? That’s like saying you’re not going to have your car repaired because it’s getting low mileage, when in fact that tune-up might be part of the reason for your low mileage.

        How about being FOR closings and capital improvements that make sense rather than being unilaterally against all investment?

        My own opinion is that some of the sports-related investments being discussed are the kinds of things that should be delayed or killed. Classroom education first; sports second.

        If they insist on allocating big dollars for sports facilities, then I will vote “NO”. The idea that every school needs its own stadium, thus the big bugs spent on Franklin stadium, still bugs the hell out of me.

        No one need try to convince me that we need sports to keep kids in school.

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        • Dan Wever says:

          Casual Observer, if your priority is to fix the buildings and close schools then there is not enough money to put into the educational part of a school district. Business and building first children and education next. I think we have our priorities in the wrong order.

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      • mamboman3 says:

        Mr Wever, I think I’ve been saying exactly what you say here about that cake really ending up to be the same cake. Here’s a more pointed question: How does the latest revamping plan on school buildings differ from the original plan proposed by Dee Margo’s board of managers? If they spent 1.3 million on the consultants, I think, the district doesn’t want that 1.3 million to have gone for naught; hence, we end up with a rubber stamp committee. Also, how does demolishing and building a new Bassett help Bassett kids get better test scores? Will the families with smarter kids be moved to send their kids to the new, fancy, schmancy Bassett or maybe to move into the neighborhood? Or are we going to gerrymander the feeders somehow? Last question: what are the plans (or probably ongoing construction right now) for a new administration building at Trans Mountain or elsewhere?

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  4. Jerry K says:

    Well, they’ve got Carmen A-City watching the money now, so we can all rest easy that the bond proceeds will find its way into the right hands.

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    • mamboman3 says:

      Jerry K surely you jest! Ms Fenenbock who is making the decisions when you have the committee and the consultant both supposed to be doing the same thing….which came first, the chicken or the egg? My impression is that the committee has to act on the recommendations of the consultant and is, in fact, a rubber stamp committee who cannot diverge significantly from the consultants’ findings, yet the public is supposed to be appeased because of the “involvement” of the committee.

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