Does your boss buy you dinner?

May 16, 2018

This came in from Dan Wever:

Red are when Board of Managers was in charge but Trustees had been elected.  I am sure they were taken out to dinner to make up for not being allowed to take office until May of 2015.  Superintendent Cabrera arrived in Sept. of 2013.  Of course the Superintendents contract says he will be paid for all food and other expenses.  Guess he loves steaks!
5/3/2013 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,241.27
5/10/2013 Indian Cliffs Ranch $420.03
5/17/2013 Indian Cliffs Ranch $519.40
5/23/2013 Indian Cliffs Ranch $3,602.47
6/7/2013 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,433.85
6/14/2013 Indian Cliffs Ranch $641.40
6/20/2013 Indian Cliffs Ranch $542.10
6/27/2013 Indian Cliffs Ranch $989.70
7/11/2013 Indian Cliffs Ranch $472.60
4/4/2014 Indian Cliffs Ranch $270.00
4/25/2014 Indian Cliffs Ranch $869.25
5/2/2014 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,954.00
5/9/2014 Indian Cliffs Ranch $553.94
5/16/2014 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,718.75
5/22/2014 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,626.53
6/6/2014 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,090.15
10/7/2014 Indian Cliffs Ranch $510.00
4/24/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $479.55
5/1/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $673.46
5/8/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $430.00
5/15/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $3,502.10
5/21/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $2,001.60
5/29/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,697.31
6/12/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $620.10
6/17/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $895.50
6/25/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $486.50
6/25/2015 Indian Cliffs Ranch $653.30
4/22/2016 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,249.00
5/20/2016 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,345.20
6/3/2016 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,198.50
6/10/2016 Indian Cliffs Ranch $632.45
6/17/2016 Indian Cliffs Ranch $476.00
6/30/2016 Indian Cliffs Ranch $859.45
3/31/2017 Indian Cliffs Ranch $303.45
4/21/2017 Indian Cliffs Ranch $416.50
4/28/2017 Indian Cliffs Ranch $704.45
5/19/2017 Indian Cliffs Ranch $2,959.70
5/25/2017 Indian Cliffs Ranch $579.00
6/9/2017 Indian Cliffs Ranch $607.95
6/15/2017 Indian Cliffs Ranch $694.80
6/29/2017 Indian Cliffs Ranch $447.75
4/6/2018 Indian Cliffs Ranch $1,061.50
4/13/2018 Indian Cliffs Ranch
$380.80
Total
    $43,811.36

Almost as bad as you can get

May 4, 2018

Well things are getting measurably worse.

In 2014 we had the 5th highest effective residential property tax rate among the 50 largest cities in the United States.  See 5th highest taxes.

In 2015 we had the 3rd highest.  See Climbing to the top.

For 2017 we were the 2nd highest.

Remember that most of the quality of life bonds have not been issued yet nor have most of the school district bonds.

We deserve better

Brutus


Slight of hand

April 23, 2018

Our central appraisal district has re-appraised all of the properties in the county.

Many homeowners are seeing their appraised values going up.  State law limits the amount of the increase to 10% of last year’s appraisal.

A common misconception is that property tax bills will automatically go up as a result of an increased appraisal.

Actually each taxing entity is required to calculate the “effective tax rate”.  From the state comptroller’s web site:

The effective tax rate is the rate the taxing unit needs to generate about the same amount of revenue it received in
the year before on properties taxed in both years.

Thus if every homeowner’s appraisal goes up 5% the effective tax rate will have to go down 5%.

Where one might see a tax increase is if their home value goes up more than the average increase of all of the other home owners.

When our local elected officials publish their new tax rates don’t make the mistake of looking at the rate (percentage) they publish.

If home values go up 5% and the taxing entity’s rate stays the same as last year they are increasing taxes 5% even though the rate is the same.

We deserve better

Brutus


What law?

April 20, 2018

From what we can see our local central appraisal district is the only local government that obeys this Texas law:

GOVERNMENT CODE

TITLE 10. GENERAL GOVERNMENT

SUBTITLE F. STATE AND LOCAL CONTRACTS AND FUND MANAGEMENT

CHAPTER 2265. REQUIRED PUBLICATION AND REPORTING BY GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES

Sec. 2265.001. RECORDING AND REPORTING OF ELECTRICITY, WATER, AND NATURAL GAS CONSUMPTION.  (a) In this section, “governmental entity” means:

(1) a board, commission, or department of the state or a political subdivision of the state, including a municipality, a county, or any kind of district; or

(2) an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code.

(b) Notwithstanding any other law, a governmental entity responsible for payments for electric, water, or natural gas utility services shall record in an electronic repository the governmental entity’s metered amount of electricity, water, or natural gas consumed for which it is responsible to pay and the aggregate costs for those utility services. The governmental entity shall report the recorded information on a publicly accessible Internet website with an interface designed for ease of navigation if available, or at another publicly accessible location.

We deserve better

Brutus


House for sale?

April 12, 2018

An observant reader sent in this link relating to a house for sale:

http://michael.exitwestrealty.com/property/70-744214-6356-Calle-Del-Rio-El-Paso-TX-79912

According to the reader the house belongs to the EPISD superintendent.

We deserve better

Brutus


Xavier Miranda EPISD open forum statement

April 9, 2018

Xavier Miranda sent this in.

We are not knowledgeable about the specific points he raises but it is interesting to know what is going on at EPISD board meetings.

******************************

Brutus,

I will be going before the Board of Trustees on Tuesday, April 10  [edit: 17] at 5 PM to read the statement below at Open Forum.
A few folks from the community will be standing with me as I read it to the Board, but my career may still be in peril.
Please consider posting my statement on your blog in the days leading up to the meeting; as I hope to encourage folks to demonstrate support for our children and our public education system.
Thanks for serving our community.
Best,
Xavier Miranda

EPISD Board Meeting Open Forum Statement


As a professional educator for 31 years, it is my duty to appear before you today, even at the risk of facing retaliation, to ask the trustees to formally request the resignation of Superintendent Cabrera.


The following concerns are shared by many in our community, of whom some stand with me today:


  • Students in the Chamizal Neighborhood continue to be exposed to high levels of air toxins from idling International Bridge traffic and a nearby recycling plant. Yet despite supplications from Chamizal parents, Superintendent Cabrera has exacerbated the situation by re-locating the Transportation and Maintenance Facilities to Bowie High School.

  • Decreasing literacy and math scores as reported by TEA, indicate a failure of Superintendent Cabrera’s leadership and initiatives, in terms of authentically addressing the unique needs of our student population.

  • Secret negotiations have been revealed by Union President Ross Moore, through a FOIA request, which indicates that Superintendent Cabrera is granting oversight of our public schools to charter school officials.

  • Dubious procurement processes have been revealed through internal audits, wherein companies and individuals  seeking to privatize our education system are awarded contracts. Some individuals have been featured in local news reports, such as the $1500 a day consultant who hails from a charter school company.

  • Internal audits reveal that Superintendent Cabrera had inappropriately utilized district funds to pay for affiliation between our district and companies that seek operational oversight of our public schools, namely Chapin High School, Bowie High School, and Andress High School.

  • Audits also reveal the use of district funds by Superintendent Cabrera to regularly travel in first-class, pay for attendance to an AIPAC conference, and sending an associate superintendent to a charter school company event.

  • Superintendent Cabrera’s administrative re-alignments have prompted many educators to resign, and have left schools such as Coronado High with decimated IB and AP programs.

  • Despite passage of a $668.7 million bond, projects are slow to break ground.Given Superintendent Cabrera’s initiative to steer our education delivery to online sources, the promise of converting our schools into WiFi hubs has not taken place.

  • Action taken by Superintendent Cabrera and the Board that is seen as politically motivated, has been the approval of the external audit of Trustee Byrd. A better use of district financial resources would be to ensure the funding of programs such as the Migrant Education Program, or the Physical and Occupational Therapy programs.

  • Emails between Superintendent Cabrera and disgraced KIPP Co-founder Mike Feinberg have given the impression that various campus administrators will be imminently replaced by individuals trained by private companies. .

  • News reports indicate that Superintendent Cabrera has been absent from our district for over 100 days, and makes over $500,000 a year with benefits and leave.

  • Decreasing morale of employees is a result from district leadership that includes some individuals of whom have been reprimanded by TEA, or have  left previous districts under questionable circumstances.


It is requested of the Board of Trustees to meet with constituents, the elected state delegation, and educators to discuss subsequent steps in restoring our public education system, to one that puts student needs first, and shares our community’s values..


Xavier Miranda

EPISD Teacher


Smartasset.com

April 4, 2018

I ran across this web page from smartasset.com:

I don’t know that the numbers are right but this is what someone from out of town will see if they are thinking of moving to El Paso.

We deserve better

Brutus


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