It is now clear that the Socorro Independent School District is facing a financial meltdown that is far worse than has been reported by the media.

Yesterday, CFO Vicki Perez presented the latest budget figures to the Board of Trustees, starting at the 2:20:53 mark in the meeting video.

She stated that in the current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2024, SISD faces a budget deficit of $33,220,511.

She also stated that in FY 2024-2025, starting July 1, 2024, there will be an additional projected deficit of $41,039,721 million.

Thus, if we add the projected budget deficits for FY 2023-2024 and FY 2024-2025, we are looking at a total figure of $74,260,232!

In addition, a forensic audit prepared by Weaver and Tidwell, LLP dated December 14, 2023 reveals that the 2017 SISD Bond of $448,500,000 has $26,337,037 in cost overruns. (appended below)

SISD STAFF SPEND $133 MILLION WITHOUT BOARD APPROVAL

If this were not enough, we acquired a document from May 2022 prepared by Superintendent Nate Carman listing 44 contract extensions worth a total of $41,243,944 that were approved by SISD staff over a period of 12 months without authorization from the Board of Trustees.

We consulted the Purchasing and Acquisition section in the Board Policy Manual of SISD and found that “any single, budgeted purchase of goods or services that costs $100,000 or more, regardless of whether the goods or services are competitively purchased, shall require Board approval before a transaction may take place.”

The 44 contract extensions were all over $100,000 and none were approved by the Board, but it gets worse…

One Trustee was so alarmed that he asked the Superintendent to document the total number of improper contract extensions for the five-year period from 2017 to 2022.

The Superintendent came back with a document in July 2022 showing 183 expenditures of over $100,000 between 2017 and 2022 totaling $132,862,162 that were never authorized by the Board of Trustees! (appended below)

In each instance, the name of the staffer who signed off on the expenditure is recorded.

Since those expenditures were never approved by the Board, they may very well be invalid, even though the funds have already been spent. Imagine the potential for litigation from contractors who lost their bids!

It is no wonder that the Texas Education Agency is placing SISD into conservatorship, but will the District be able to avert Chapter 9 bankruptcy?