Yesterday, under agenda item 5C, the Board of Trustees of Canutillo Independent School District voted 4-1 to terminate their Chief Business Officer, Martha Piekarski, with Breanne Barnes dissenting and Lucy Borrego and Blanca Trout absent.

The CBO supervises four departments and is responsible for the financial health of the District.

The responsibilities of the CBO will be assumed by another employee, presumably Dr. Oscar Rico, Executive Director of Operations, and a new CBO will not be hired.

Canutillo ISD faces a $6 million budget deficit this fiscal year, but at the April 16 Work Session we learned that there will be an additional shortfall of $9.9 million in FY 2024-2025.

The ruinous $386.2 million CISD bond that was just passed by the voters will do nothing to address the gaping hole in the budget.


Today at 6:00pm Socorro ISD, which is in much deeper financial trouble than CISD, will hold its monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees at 12440 Rojas Drive.

To sign up for public comment, one should plan to arrive by 5:30pm. The El Paso Taxpayer Revolt will sign up to speak. The agenda is here and one can watch the meeting on YouTube.

SISD is a financial basket case, with a current budget deficit of $33.2 million, an additional deficit of $41 million projected for 2024-2025, and a $26.3 million shortfall in the 2017 Bond.

Moreover, SISD staff spent $132.9 million on contract extensions in 183 separate transactions between 2017 and 2022 without once seeking the required authorization from the Board of Trustees.

We can add to that the fact that at least 276 seniors graduated in 2019 without the proper qualifications, $283,000 worth of employee stipends were awarded between 2016 and 2022 without Board approval, and numerous SISD employees were reimbursed for driving costs without reporting their mileage.

CFO Vicki Perez has failed to provide the Board of Trustees with critical budgetary information on demand and cannot even tell them how many days of reserve funds remain.

Most of this mess is detailed by Trustee Ricardo Castellano in an interview we conducted with him in March that has received over 3,300 views.

Incredibly, Trustees Ricardo Castellano and Pablo Barrera, were arrested last week on dubious charges, and these are the very Trustees who have been actively investigating financial mismanagement within SISD, which is now under the conservatorship of the Texas Education Agency.

If you are concerned that one of the largest school districts in El Paso could potentially file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, severely damaging the economy and reputation of our community, please come to the meeting today and speak!

You may write to the SISD Trustees with your concerns at:;;;;;;