Just when we thought the financial disaster that is Socorro ISD could not get any worse, it got worse by an order of magnitude!

We reported five days ago that SISD’s average daily attendance (ADA) is projected to drop by 3,496 students from this fiscal year to next fiscal year, citing a chart that CFO Vicki Perez presented to the Board of Trustees at their June 3 Workshop Meeting.

But yesterday evening at 6:06pm, Deputy Superintendent James Vasquez sent the email below to SISD faculty and staff stating that the figures Perez shared were incorrect.

According to him, this year’s current enrollment is actually about 47,200 (not 48,824) and the ADA is about 42,280 (not 45,997).

Thus, average daily attendance did not increase by 4.2% since last year as Perez showed on June 3. It decreased by 4.2%!

In his email, Vasquez does not provide any revised enrollment projections for 2024-25. He anticipates a further decline but does “not anticipate it being as drastic” as previously represented.

Oh really?

Today we interviewed Ricardo Castellano, SISD Trustee of District 3, who confirmed the revised figures for 2023-24 and told us that during a breakout meeting at the June 3 Workshop, Celina Stiles, Director of Human Resources, informed him that enrollment is expected to decline by an additional 2,000 students in 2024-25.

Using the revised enrollment figure for the current fiscal year as a baseline, that would mean that next year’s enrollment will drop to approximately 45,200 and the ADA to approximately 40,680 (calculating that ADA is about 90% of enrollment).

In a word, that means that between 2023 and 2025, SISD will have lost about 3,444 attending students, representing 7.8% of the student population and a decrease of $21.2 million in state revenue.

We took the liberty of correcting Perez’s enrollment chart by inserting the revised figures for 2023-24 that Vasquez reported in his email and the revised projections for 2024-25 based on information provided by Ms. Stiles.

Given the $74 million budget deficit for the current fiscal year and next fiscal year, plus $26.3 million in cost overruns on the 2017 bond, plus the loss of state funding due to the precipitous decline in enrollment, we can confidently predict that SISD is heading for an epic financial crash.


But wait, it gets even worse!

In his email, Vasquez also reveals his discovery “that the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate assessed for this past year exceeded the maximum compressed rate determined by TEA” by 1.6 cents per $100 of property valuation.

In plain English, the residents of Socorro Independent School District were overcharged an average of $24 per home for FY 2023-24.

To remedy this singular act of financial malfeasance, Vasquez promises the District “will make an equal reduction in the tax rate for the 2024-2025 school year,” as if this will fix the damage caused by so much incompetence.

There is no question that the situation is urgent. In addition to his email, Vasquez also sent this text, confirming the 1.6-cent overcharge and the $2.2 million theft:


According to her LinkedIn profile, Vicki Perez has been the Chief Financial Officer of SISD since July 2022. She is paid a salary $166,625, the fourth highest among the district’s 8,120 employees.

She was brought in by Dr. Nate Carman from his former place of employment at the southern tip of Texas, San Benito Consolidated Independent School District. Carman is the outgoing SISD Superintendent who was recently placed on paid administrative leave.

In our humble opinion, which the First Amendment to the United States Constitution permits us to express without fear, Vicki Perez should be shown the door immediately and Dr. Nate Carman should be terminated outright without pay.