Mr. Moore over at elpasomatters.org published a remarkable set of statistics the other day in a post about public school enrollment in El Paso:
El Paso County schools – including both traditional school districts and charter schools – had 34,603 students enrolled in kindergarten, first grade and second grade this year, according to data released in March 2019 by the Texas Education Agency. That’s down more than 5,000 from the 2011-12 enrollment in those grades, according to TEA records, a decline of 13%.
Those 5,000 fewer students will soon be missing from upper grades at the children get older.
Yet the school districts continue to build new schools.
We deserve better
We have long suffered from a brain drain in El Paso, and most of us have been aware of our continued lack of growth over the past few years, but the City and County governments, along with school districts, have failed to pay attention.
And how does that fact justify public dollars contributing to predatory charter schools which cannibalize and further erode El Paso’s public school system which desperately needs all the funding it can get?
Charter schools which are held to much looser standards and which pilfer the top students within EPISD. Yes, they’ll hand out a few grants and scholarships to the rare token poor kids they will hand pick, but by and large, the rest of El Paso’s unique border students will continue to suffer as Hunt and Margo continue their rampage through the public school system.
Justify the money that local public schools have received. I’ll wait…
Well EPISD waste a lot of TAX dollars on “Friends and Family” Contractors. And of course the biggest waste is the extravagant salary, benefits, GIVEN to Juan Cabrera. And now they have to build a NEW building for HIS Office. With EPISD, it’s just tax, waste, spend, waste, tax some more. And of course “Johnny, Suzie, Juan, Juanita”, still cannot read, write or do math when they graduate.
Please add O’Rourke to the Hunt and Margo list.
On the other hand, we will have a nice arena and new Paul Foster high rise downtown for all those to wave at as they leave town.
It’s Woody Hunt’s high rise, not Foster’s. He doesn’t like the view, so he is working to have a park built over I-10.
So apparently EPISD is “in bed” with a bunch of Contractors and have to keep building, regardless of USE or COST.. The only thing that doesn’t “Shrink” is the EPISD TAX “bite” on the TAXPAYERS and Juan Cabrera’s extravagant pay check. Time to call in the FBI again on all this EPISD corruption.
The solution is to close ‘under utilized’ schools. But as you can see from many, many media reports over the years, proponents of those individual schools raise ‘so much public hell’ via the media, trustees don’t have the balls to close them. In the end district property tax payers have to absorb the cost.
I believe this coming tax year, which is now under budget development in all school district, plus the city and county, the Texas Legislature may have lowered the ‘tax rollback trigger’ where local voters get a bigger say. For school districts think that ‘tax roll back trigger’ may now be 2.5 percent, and for the city possibly around 3.5 percent. Please check my facts as this was an issue before the Texas Legislature last legislative session. Of course our local legislative delegation was against it.
If that is correct, we all will have a greater voter say in local matters!
Finally, if you look at the top of Brutus’ website here, you will see a window marked “Sound Off’, it’s reasonable to conclude that window is there for a purpose.
From the Comptroller: “A school district is required to hold an automatic voter-approval election – without the petition process – to ratify a current year’s tax rate if it adopts a tax rate above the rollback tax rate. The election date cannot be earlier than 30 days or later than 90 days after the date the school board adopted the tax rate. School districts that adopt a tax rate before adopting the budget based on the chief appraiser’s certified estimate of taxable value must order the voter-approval election at least 30 days prior to the election date.”
So I guess it’s 3.5% before we get to vote on it.
Public education is a blight on society. Whatever they started out as, they are now simply a waste of taxpayer money. The least common denominator at any public school today is teaching anything useful to children.
Public school priority today is on teacher pay, reducing accountability, and ever changing programs that will do what past programs were supposed to but did not.
Anyone opposed to private schools is simply part of the problem: rewarding failure.
Only by punishing failure does improvement occur.
Two thought regarding new schools being built:
The population shifts where they live which means the concentration of schools on the south side and along the US-54 no longer have the student population to support all the schools in that area. However, over the last 5-10 years there has been growth in the Northeast and the Westside. I guess the expectation is that all parents in those parts of town would be perfectly willing to put there child on a bus to send them to the south side in order to not build new schools.
Most older schools have serious heating and cooling issues, limited electrical outlets to support technology usage by office staff, administrators, teachers and students and finally were not built to ensure children’s safety in light of all the school shootings. Spend money maintaining and upgrading or build new. I wonder what the research says on what is the best cost benefit long term.