On Tuesday June 21, 2016, EPISD decided that it would not be increasing your property taxes while at the same time it will be giving educators a pay raise. According to KFOX, “Even though the district is expected to lose 1,400 students, the board approved a new budget that includes a 1.5 percent increase for teachers.” This pay raise is less than the 2.5 percent that teachers were given last year and may not stay ahead of the increasing health insurance premiums.
Good news for everybody, teachers get raises and property taxes don’t go up! Well, kind of. The EPISD MAY ask you to open your wallets wider, just not yet. Depending on which news story you read, (KVIA or KFOX), the El Paso School District is considering or has already decided to hold a bond election in November. With the passage of the bond, educators could see an increase in raises (above the 1.5 percent).
Educators could also see higher raises with the consolidation of facilities. But the process has been a long and complicated one. Understandably, families are upset that their children may have to go to a different, possibly farther away, school. Some schools are old, badly in need of repair and require money for updates and declining enrollment means less money for schools to use. Hence, the bond: “Our buildings, our classrooms are outdated for what we know kids need and the direction teaching and learning is moving,” EPISD spokeswoman Melissa Martinez said. “But in order to do that, we have to pass a bond.” Even without the bond, closures would still occur but buildings could not be updated.
So, your property taxes are staying the same, for now. However, it looks like we’ll all be voting on a bond to increase property taxes for EPISD in the fall. Also, there is this: “The board also approved $250,000 which will go to a consulting agency for a marketing campaign.” Anyone think that marketing is going to bring in students from surrounding school districts to EPISD or did the board just throw this money away?