Helen Marshall sent this in:
On returning from a brief trip I am plunged into El Paso Derangement Syndrome again. A story in the Times (http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/education/episd/2017/12/04/episd-gene-roddenberry-planetarium-future-uncertain/909514001/)
informs us that the EPISD is searching for a grant to cover the expense of moving the Gene Roddenberry Planetarium when the EPISD offices are vacated in order to move (Dwntwn). The chief financial officer, Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria – the wizard who underestimated just about every project in the quality of life bond (a cultural center for $5.9 million? talk to Albuquerque and try $40 million+…) – states that “funding for the planetarium was not included in the 2016 bond or in the yearly budget, “which makes finding a new home for it more challenging.” Neither she nor the reporter asked or explained why.
The planetarium is named for the El Paso-born creator of Star Trek, and has been operating since 1969. Apparently not enough to merit consideration of funding for the move by the EPISD. You might think that they would have found a little corner in the $668.7 million bond in 2016 to include $1.4 million for the planetarium, but you‘d be wrong.
First Insights, then the Planetarium. El Paso as a whole does not place a lot of emphasis on science education for our children.
It’s pretty obvious that they want to get rid of the planetarium. They did not include it in the bond. The cost of building it is nothing compared to a whole lot of the projects in the bond! Adding it in would have been easy.
The district has spent SO much more on other side projects that have less impact on students than our planetarium. This last summer, they dropped $1.1 million on a single week long program for students from just a few campuses!
For a single week long program!
So, we can’t come up with $1.4 million for a teaching venue that will last what? Years? And, how many students each year come through that place? I have no idea… But, there are buses out there every day all day!
Is there any chance at all that the city might come through with this grant? Does anyone here have a clue about that? Or is this all being staged so as to shift the responsibility for failure?
Personally, I agree with “Real cities have planetariums”. I can’t see a city that would destroy a science museum (to build a money losing sports stadium) funding anything dealing with science education! I really hope I am wrong.
I can’t imagine that anyone in the EPISD upper Admin would see that either. So, I think that EPISD is doing it this way to avoid any public outcry over losing it. Brilliant, really. I mean think about it… All they have to do is once again fool the voting public!
This is something EPISD has kind of specialized in over the last few years. They are, in fact, quite good at it. So, EPISD wins. The kids lose. And, they will keep losing for many years to come!
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It does go along with the overall neglect of education that has taken over our entire nation for the last 40+ years, though. Let’s face it. And educated electorate did not bring us to where we are today.
Neglect IS the word for it.
Dee Margo when on the board of managers led EPISD like it was a business. He was part of that group of GOP in 2011 that began devastating cuts to public education in Texas. Texas was ranked #39 in America and has since dropped to #43 and sinking. Margo and Hunt are both continuing that trend by pushing CREEED and creating private and charter schools that parasitically feed off of EPISD dollars, further eroding the already low quality of public education here in EP.
Superintendent Cabrera, Margo’s handpicked and ignorant leader of EPISD is a natural choice for a businessman like Margo. Know nothing leader that just keeps lobbying for more salary while complaining about coach seating on his flights. And paying ridiculous sums of money to a “consultant” that is essentially doing what he is supposed to do.
Dori Fenenbock, bailed on EPISD halfway into her 4 years as president of the board of trustees because it was never “for the kids.” It was always about her grandiose plans to enter politics as a Trojan Horse Republican. A cheap opportunist that along with Margo, Cabrera, Susie Byrd and half a million dollars in Rising El Paso PAC money, managed to bait El Paso into forking up $670 million to patch up external issues that bear little weight in real world education issues affecting El Paso’s border students.
These people are not Citizens of the Year…they are con artists.
You might considering throttling back a bit on your name-calling. You pontificate about Christian values and kindness in your newspaper columns, but there is nothing Christian or even civil about calling people “ignorant” and “con artists.” You could have made your points without the personal attacks and mean-spiritedness. Those who sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
You don’t have to agree with me abd believe me, they’ve been called much worse. Cabrera was hired with zero experience in running a school district. He was paid over $300,000 per year while being trained for his job. I call that ignorant.
Save your criticisms for Christians who voted Trump and who support Roy Moore. As for me, i call it like i see it.
In El Paso (City, county and EPISD) incompetence and loyalty is rewarded while capability and outsiders of the insiders are NOT considered
Yet the fuzzy math lady, Dee Margo and other “managers” paid a huge sum to “study” relocation of the central office to the NE. Then Dori Fenenbock convinced the board to trash that “study” to instead relocate HQ to DT (what a coincidence that her millionaire brother-in-law’s Paso Del Norte hotel might just benefit— perhaps that’s why there’s greater benefits to be derived from buying her the congressional seat). Point is, they have money for their own self-interests but not this, and fuzzy math knows it. But “it’s for the children.”
The BOT did have enough insight to set back over $40,000,000 for incidentals and overages and this will be gone before a building gets built.
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A visit to the planetarium might give children the idea the world is round and orbits around the sun. Horrors!
I guess that’s all there is to say about that then…