School districts encouraged not to maintain buildings

Unfortunately state law encourages school districts to avoid maintenance on buildings until they reach the point where they have to be replaced.

Locally the districts have had us  paying for the new buildings by taking on debt through bond issuances.

School districts are allowed to set two different property tax rates.

The first is known as M&O (maintenance and operations) with the second commonly called I&S (interest and sinking fund).  Bonds are paid for out of I&S taxes.

If our numbers are correct the state has placed a cap (maximum) on the M&O rate at $1.50 per hundred dollars of property valuation and has capped the I&S rate at fifty cents per hundred dollars of property valuation.

If the districts were to properly maintain our buildings the costs would have to come out of the M&O funds.  When they ignore maintenance and end up having to build a new building they get to use I&S funds.

Last year EPISD’s M&O rate was $1.07 per hundred and their I&S rate was twenty-four cents per hundred.  Remember that this was before the new bonds have been issued.  The I&S rate will go up when they are issued.

We deserve better


8 Responses to School districts encouraged not to maintain buildings

  1. This makes little sense. First, I seem to recall that we once had janitors working on campus, and somewhere along the line, the job title was changed to Maintenance Engineers, wasn’t it? To be more reflective of what they do, and perhaps to offer a bit more status to the position? As a one-time school nurse, I do know that each campus has a full time janitor/engineer on site, and they are supposed to be performing maintenance on a daily basis. But, I also know that little real maintenance gets done (for a lot of reasons) in the real world. No matter how we look at it, any institution that fails to perform regular and adequate maintenance will pay more in the long run. And, this is simply unfair to the long suffering taxpayers.


  2. Old Fart says:

    A good example is to just examine the weather related damage at Eastwood High School prior to the bond issue. That damage could have been abated with preventive maintenance. To me that damage should have been pinned on the prior superintendent and current trustees. There was also weather related damage to that newer building at Eastwood HS near the corner of McRae and Montwood.

    Then to top things off, the district built that newer building at the Southwest corner of the Montwood property on McRae; which caused heavy rain to flood into the center of the old classroom section of Eastwood. You could visually see the water line from that flood damage on the walls of that old interior section of the campus. Why the contractor was allowed to construct that addition is beyond me?

    In addition, that middle school the district was also proudly highlighting in its bond ‘media blitz’ to the public, that had cracks in the walls’ and floors, was built in an area where the soil was sinking. That was the second school campus built on unstable soil.

    But hey, our vigilant local news media seems to overlook asking these types of questions.

    Don’t get me wrong, Eastwood did need construction dollars, and $50 million would have certainly gone a long way to correcting campus deficiencies.

    Why the news media never examined and covered that Templeton Demographics Study remains a mystery? Now YISD will have one ‘show case’ high school which is over enrolled in students; while all other high school campuses are under enrolled.

    So here’s a question: will the students at those other YISD high school campuses have the same opportunities at available program offerings, at those provided at Eastwood? In today era of emphasis on civil rights, that seems a fair question the media might ask.


  3. Jud Burgess says:

    Dori Fenenbock and Juan Cabrera were constantly harping about the dangers inherent with schools that were on the verge of collapsing. Remember her favorite story about that mysterious and nameless Coronado student who had wet and moldy ceiling tiles fall on his/her head during class and the sheer horror of it all? Meanwhile EPISD is sitting on $20,000,000 bond dollars from an earlier bond that remained unspent AND about 100 million in rainy day funds. If the need was so dire, why didn’t they tap into that mountain of money to “protect” our students?


  4. Tickedofftaxpayer says:

    I’m guessing if maintenance contracts were as profitable to our local construction companies as building new schools we’d have the best maintained schools on the planet. Instead it appears more profitable to support candidates who hire folks who see maintenance as a low priority and instead focus spending on politically correct vendors. And every so often when schools (or city hall or neighborhoods) deteriorate the argument gets made that it is cheaper to build something else than fix what we have. All I can say is that in the early 70s in Japan, I got one hell of high school education in a pre-WWII building that had been formerly been used to educate Japanese Army officers. In college in the late 70s (which back then was very affordable), I sat in classrooms that didn’t have AC (in Florida) that had been also built pre-WWII and learned just fine. Miraculously, maintenance crews were able to maintain those buildings for decades. I didn’t see leaky roofs, peeling paint, cracking foundations or cracks in walls.


  5. anonymous says:

    Planned obsolescence is one of the cornerstones of unbridled, profits-driven capitalism. When capitalists without a conscience and government get their heads together, things just get worse.


    • lol @ EP says:

      Then why don’t you move to a communist or socialist country then tweet about the good life you have there? Surely you aren’t trying to say that public schools use capitalism as their method for getting funding? They take money from taxpayers, if they don’t pay the sheriff will auction their house and give the money to the school. How is that capitalistic? Any time I see someone complaining about capitalism I know they are someone who doesn’t live in a socialist or communist society. If you think they are so good go to Venezuela and start a blog.


  6. Old Fart says:

    Considering the bad condition of a number of YISD’s buildings, district trustees should have given serious consideration to declaring a ‘financial exigency.’

    Yes, there are certain conditions YISD would have had to meet to get TEA approval for such an ‘exigency.’ But when you consider the effort the district put into its ‘media blitz’ to the public show casing how bad buildings were, coupled with the fact that a prior bond issue had failed; YISD could have made a good solid case to preserve taxpayer provided assets that an ‘exigency’ should be declared.

    At that time, believe the always wonderful office of our state senator was helping highlight an effort to register 18 year old voters. Wonder if the senator will be so outspoken, and ensure those kids who attend YISD’s other high schools, receive the same great school program opportunities as Eastwood students?


  7. lol @ EP says:

    Why should any government entity practice anything remotely close to fiscal responsibility? Politicians and government employees alike routinely get rewarded for failure. Our public schools are failing in every measure yet they get rewarded with hundreds of millions of dollars. Our city financial situation is a disaster, but leave them alone while they plan how to spend hundreds of millions of dollars. The last thing we need is an arena, but that is the first on their list. 300 people usually decide the vote in El Paso, so anyone not voting is essentially voting for higher taxes for everyone. Gearing up to leave this town, in 7 years the taxes here will be ultra-ridiculous. Right now they are just super-ridiculous.


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