There are nine school districts in El Paso County, each with its own superintendent, board of trustees, and bloated administration. These districts consume more than 40% of our property tax yet are subject to minimal financial oversight compared to our other local taxing entities.

Several of the districts are suffering from sharply declining student enrollment, exacerbated by the emergence and growth of charter schools.

Meanwhile, student performance has been stagnant, with EPISD, Canutillo ISD, and San Elizario ISD joining other Texas school districts in a lawsuit to prevent the release of new accountability ratings by the Texas Education Agency.

Just as concerning, teachers are leaving in droves. El Paso Matters recently reported that 900 teachers left the three largest school districts during the 2021-2022 academic year alone.

A slew of recent media reports paints a bleak picture of financial mismanagement and decline.


We recently reported that the number of full-time EPISD employees decreased from 8,402 in 2014 to 7,229 in 2023, a drop of 14.0%.

In the same nine-year period, student enrollment declined 23.5%, from 61,290 in 2014 to approximately 47,500 last year, and the number of school campuses decreased from 92 to 76.

Yet under Juan Cabrera, the controversial Superintendent (FY 2014-2021) whose salary peaked at $380,919, the EPISD budget grew from $470 million to $641 million, a 36% increase, even as the number of employees and students dropped like a lead ball.

Our recent analysis of current EPISD salaries found that there is not one teacher among the top 472 wage earners in EPISD!

The wasteful $668 million EPISD bond that was passed by the voters in 2016 for construction and repair did nothing to improve the financial outlook.

EPISD debt and unfunded liabilities now stand at more than $1.4 billion, yet there are plans to place a new $600 million bond before the voters.


Last month, Claudia Lorena Silva of El Paso Matters reported that Canutillo ISD is facing a $6 million deficit and is making budget cuts and laying off staff.

Communications Director Gustavo Reveles blamed the deficit on an increase in employee insurance premiums and the decision to raise employees’ salaries at the beginning of the school year.

Silva reports that student enrollment has declined from about 6,200 in 2020 to around 5,800 today and that the district has a budget reserve of only 73 days.

Canutillo ISD will be asking the voters to approve a $387 million bond in May in a bid to increase student enrollment and rescue their budget. Two previous school bond propositions failed.

Meanwhile, the wife of Superintendent Pedro Galaviz was seen on social media purchasing a $46,000 luxury car, angering faculty and staff.


Jessica Gonzalez of FOX14 reported that the budget deficit of the Socorro ISD is spiraling out of control in the wake of generous teacher pay increases and retention stipends.

As a result, the district may now have to cut pay and benefits, possibly eliminating spousal coverage, and increase class sizes.

According to Tony Gutierrez of KVIA, the board of trustees revealed at their January 23 meeting that they face a budget shortfall of $33 million in the current fiscal year.

Superintendent Dr. Nate Carman did not bother to attend the meeting.

According to US News and World Report, the Socorro ISD includes 52 schools with 47,278 students enrolled with a current student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1.

Middle school students are testing in the 24th percentile in mathematics and the 33rd percentile for reading yet the graduation rate is 91%.

The proficiency ratings for EPISD are even worse.

Yselta ISD, which was named the No. 1 school district in the County for the third year in a row, has five campuses that are among the top 20% of public elementary and middle schools in Texas, yet according to US News and World Report, middle school proficiency in mathematics among all the campuses stands at 27% and reading at 33%.

In our opinion, the local school districts should be taken over by the state and restructured, and the number of districts should be reduced from nine to three. There should be new state rules requiring that at least three members of each school board have financial or accounting experience, and superintendents should be subjected to oversight from Austin.

Something has to be done.