There are nine school districts in El Paso County, each with its own superintendent and administration. These districts have an unquenchable thirst for tax dollars and already account for more than 40% of our property tax.

When they run out of money or want to build things, the school districts place bond propositions on ballots and lobby hard to get them passed.

For example, the voters passed a $669 million EPISD bond in 2016 and a $425 million Ysleta ISD bond in 2019. These huge expenditures have not improved student outcomes.

In 2022, Canutillo ISD went for $264 million and San Elizario for $25 million, but these bonds were rejected by the voters.

In recent months we learned that EPISD wants a new $600 million bond, only eight years after the last one. Canutillo ISD wants to go for $387 million and Socorro ISD for a record $769 million.

Meanwhile, Canutillo ISD is facing a budget deficit of $6 million while Soccoro ISD is $33 million in the red. Fabens ISD has been subjected to a state review because of pervasive administrative problems.

Most of our districts are suffering from declining student enrollment and high teacher attrition rates while the number of well-paid administrators continues to rise. See our recent analysis of EPISD salaries.


We continue to believe we should reduce the number of school districts from nine to three, streamline the administrations, use part of the savings to improve the pay and working conditions of teachers, and return the remaining balance to the taxpayers in the form of a lower property tax.

That way our City and County would have more bonding capacity to repair our roads and improve infrastructure.

Texas law provides for school district consolidation by citizen petition and it has been done before.

According to the Texas Education Agency, there have been 76 school district consolidations and annexations in our state between 1983 and 2021.

The TEA website states that “Consolidations involve two or more school districts merging into a single district. Annexations occur when territory is detached from one school district and annexed to a bordering one.”

So why can’t we merge our school districts in El Paso County?

Some argue that it is better to have smaller districts because they are easier to manage and there is greater accountability, but we do not believe that.

If our County government can provide services for 870,000 people, then why can’t three school districts operate as efficiently within the same territory?

Of course, the administrations of our school districts, like all self-serving government bureaucracies, would fight like hell against the mere idea of consolidating and streamlining.

They won’t even allow the state to provide the public with an empirical rating system so that parents can make informed choices for their children.

EPISD, Canutillo ISD, and San Elizario ISD joined with dozens of other Texas school districts in a lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency aimed at preventing the release of new accountability ratings.

Does anyone wonder why charter schools are popping up like mushrooms and homeschooling is rapidly gaining traction?

If we want to safeguard our public school districts and improve student outcomes, it will require a lot of political courage from our boards of trustees and State Delegation.

In the end, the citizens may have to take matters into their own hands in order to force a change.