Juan Cabrera in tandem with Dori Fenenbock and Susie Byrd miraculously (and somewhat inexplicably) passed the most expensive bond in the history of El Paso taxpayer money grabs.
Just one problem.
One very big problem.
It is a bond costing us $670,000,000 plus interest over many years that STILL DOES NOT address the most pressing issues facing our students and their educators.
From the very beginning, EPISD employed a highly deceiving campaign to convince El Pasoans that this bond was absolutely critical for our children, that their very health and safety were in immediate danger. That school buses with several broken windows, flawed transmissions and graffiti were hauling our children back and forth to school, that Coronado High was on it’s last legs and needed $74,000,000 asap before the ceiling caved in on the students.
EPISD insisted we must act NOW “for the kids” and “to attract and retain the best educators”.
Now has come and gone and El Pasoans are feeling the regret of having passed the bond with the biggest winner to date being Superintendent Cabrera himself, what with that $44,500 pay “bump” and a bonus of 20 sick days and 15 extra vacation days that he can convert into another $46,900+ should be so desire…which he very well may.
Fenenbock and the EPISD board is rewarding Cabrera for passing the short-sighted bond as if he is some kind of Fortune 500 CEO.
And maybe that is just what he is…a corporate titan that approaches border education more from a “building buildings” mindset than a “building students and their educators” approach.
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Superintendent Cabrera wrote a column in Sunday’s Opinion section of the El Paso Times.
Read it carefully (link here). http://www.elpasotimes.com/…/cabrera-el-pasoans-s…/99068986/
He is warning us of upcoming hard times where public education will be under assault by a stingy Texas legislature and an unsympathetic Secretary of Education in Trump’s America.
Too little, too late Mr. Cabrera, Mrs. Fenenbock and Susie Byrd.
A superintendent and a board that is paying attention would have seen this coming a mile away.
I’m a regular citizen and I saw it coming. I pay attention.
I kept sounding the alarm that this bond did nothing to address an education that is ranked #43 in the nation and dropping. I harped on the fact that EPISD needed to address the language issues endemic in a struggling border community before wasting $$$ on turfing football fields and an I-pad in every backpack. I pointed out that the bond did nothing to support our students’ overworked and underpaid educators.
Now Cabrera and EPISD have to deal with Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education who has no desire to help public education but rather funnel EPISD money meant to improve El Paso’s education quality and give it towards vouchers and charter/private schools.
EPISD knows that the Texas legislature has been defunding El Paso’s public education dollars since 2011, with tens of millions being held back every year and now after passing a very poorly prioritized bond that will cost El Pasoans and their children well over a billion dollars over the years, Cabrera is crying out for public support.
He’s priming us for the “coming attack” on public schools.
A quote from Cabrera’s Sunday’s El Paso Times column –
“The majority of students currently do and will continue to attend our public schools. Any attempt to defund or divert funds from these efforts will be A SEVERE BLOW to the important work of educating our public school children.” (Caps mine)
This statement coming from EPISD’s superintendent who has probably the highest salary/perks/incentives package of all Texas school district superintendents while his corps of teachers struggle to get decent raises and material support from the district.
This statement coming from Superintendent Juan Cabrera, the handpicked choice of Dee Margo who was part of the initial group of Texas representatives and politicians who began the trend of public education cuts in 2011, continuing our downhill slide to #43 and dropping in the nation education.
This statement coming from the superintendent who along with EPISD board president Dori Fenenbock, passed the record-setting school bond that does NOTHING to address “the important work of educating our public school children.”
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We are giving Cabrera, Fenenbock and Byrd’s EPISD an additional $200 of our personal income every year for non-critical issues that in the long run don’t make El Paso’s students better prepared for their future.
And soon will come that moment where they dare to look us in the eye and ask us for more support, because they didn’t have the courage and foresight to address the REAL ISSUES that have affected El Paso’s students and their educators when they had the chance.
Instead they chose to swindle El Pasoans and their children out of $670,000,000 with a tear-jerking campaign of misinformation and outright lies.
This was not “for the kids.”
This was always about using our money to give the impression that EPISD is accomplishing something in the wake of the Garcia years.
Same game, different superintendent, different misuse of our dollars.
Net result: Shiny new buses, 70 degree classrooms, cushy turf…students and educators still struggling with a subpar education that EPISD refused to invest in when they could.
They WILL come back with their hands out asking for another bond to deal with the issues they ignored on the $670,000,000 bond.