In recent months we have heard a lot about budget deficits and enrollment decreases at SISD, EPISD, and Canutillo ISD, but now it’s Ysleta ISD’s turn to be in the news.

At its May 14 meeting, YISD Chief Financial & Operations Officer Lynly Leeper provided an alarming budget update to the Board of Trustees (beginning at 1:19:30).

She announced that the proposed $404.9 million General Fund budget includes a deficit of $13,930,463 million, which comes on the heels of deficits of $10.6 million in 2022-23 and $5.7 million in 2023-24. The total proposed budget, with $26.3 million for child nutrition and $50 million for debt servicing, is $481,231,003.

Leeper explained that in 2024-25 there will be $7 million less revenue than this year and $23 million less than last year and that expenditures have exceeded revenues every year since 2021.

The proposed budget reduces the reserve fund balance from $68 million to $53 million and there is a strong possibility it could descend into dangerous territory by 2026, when painful budget cuts may become necessary.

Leeper also announced that student enrollment is projected to drop by 1,000 next year, after declining by 8,145 students (23.3%) during the period from 2014 to 2024.

As we predicted, the $425 million YISD school bond that was passed by the voters in 2019 did nothing to stop the downward trend in student enrollment or halt the financial hemorrhaging.


Chris Hernandez, who began his term as YISD Trustee of District 6 nearly one year ago, is the most fiscally conservative member of the Board of Trustees. He stated his concern about the annual budget deficits at the May 14 meeting:

Chris Hernandez, Ysleta ISD Trustee of District 6, Board Meeting of May 14, 2024

This morning we interviewed Hernandez, who claims that the primary driver of the deficits is not only the refusal of the State Legislature to increase funding for public school education, but also the salary increases that the Ysleta Teachers Association (YTA) keeps demanding and receiving every year. He told us, “We don’t have the resources on the Board to give the YTA what they want.”

On his first day in office, June 19, 2023, Hernandez voted against the 2023-2024 budget because it included a deficit of $5.7 million dollars, driven in large part by salary increases.

At the meeting last month, the YTA demanded $6 million for teachers in 2024-25, which would increase the General Fund deficit to nearly $20 million. Hernandez told us he will vote against the budget at the meeting this coming June 12 if his colleagues cave to union demands.


We applaud Hernandez for his fiscal prudence and for establishing monthly budget workshops that are open to the public. However, he does not seem to share our concern about the number of YISD administrators and how much they are compensated.

The Superintendent, Dr. Xavier de la Torre, is paid $451,457 and is the third highest-paid public superintendent in Texas, earning 13% more than the President of the United States.

YISD Superintendent Xavier de la Torre

Our own research confirms that among the top 342 wage earners at YISD, there is not one single teacher. 111 of them are paid more than $100,000 plus benefits.

According to Leeper, 87.6% of the General Fund budget is earmarked for payroll, up from 82-85% in previous years.

We will continue to demand that YISD and our other school districts conduct structural audits of their administrations with the aim of identifying savings, reducing staff, and decreasing administrative salaries and benefits that are excessive.