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SISD votes to receive conservatorship from Texas

Jose G. Saldana
On Mar. 5, the Socorro Independent School District voted to have the Texas Education Agency take over as a conservator.

The Socorro Independent School District (SISD) has voted to have the Texas Education Agency (TEA) take over as a conservator, a move that could have significant implications for the district and its students. 

The decision was made March 5 after a lengthy debate at a school board meeting. The school board President of SISD, Michael Najera, made a statement in response to inquiries from El Paso Matters.  

“It is no secret that the district has been facing challenges and we want to do everything we can to remove any skepticism in the leadership of our district administrators and our governance as board trustees of the school district,” Najera said. “Our aim is to eradicate any doubts in our school district so that we can bring closure to the tribulations that have been impacting the district and continue to move our district forward, because the fact is despite these challenges our students, teachers and district are achieving great levels of success.” 

TEA would have extensive powers during its takeover, one of which would be to help the district get its finances in order. SISD is reported to have a $33 million deficit, as the district has been struggling financially for some time. The TEA could bring in resources and expertise to help turn things around. 

However, some worry that this move could lead to a loss of local control and could negatively impact students and employees. Concerned employees expressed their grievances but chose to stay anonymous. 

“We’re giving up our local control, and I think that’s a problem. We, as in El Pasoans, specifically those of us living and working in SISD, need to be able to make decisions that are best for our students and our community.” 

Another SISD employee said the writing was on the wall.  

“It didn’t surprise me because our board members and district administrators have been at odds for a few years now. It’s like a circus act from both sides if you watch the board meetings. It’s interesting how a lot of administrators that worked at the District Service Center were jumping ship within the last three years, that raised a red flag in my opinion.”  

Parents have also voiced their concerns about the takeover, citing that it was like watching the schools their kids go to simply throw in the towel.  

“It’s scary you know, I mean even being here talking to you, makes me nervous about what’s in store for my kids. I already know that the district may have bitten off more than it could chew with its new sports complex, that we probably didn’t even need, and the super intendent just left, it just feels like a disaster,” said a parent who also wished to remain anonymous. 

The TEA will now begin the process of appointing a conservator, who will work with the district to develop a plan for improvement. It remains to be seen how this move will ultimately impact the district and its students, as rumors swirl about possible layoffs, and eight investigations going back to 2020 regarding a multitude of possible infractions and oversights.  

SISD employees say it’s a little nerve racking to see what is to come out of this and it is hard to see employees work as hard as they do with little to no reward. Although many hope this will lead to positive changes for SISD but only time will tell. 

Jorge Guajardo is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Jorge Guajardo
Jorge Guajardo, Staff Reporter
Jorge Ian Guajardo, is 30 years old and born and raised in El Paso. He is majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English rhetoric. He is a contributor at The Prospector looking to lay the foundation for a long and successful career in journalism once he graduates.
Jose G. Saldana
Jose G. Saldana, Contributor/Photographer
Jose G. Saldana is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production. Jose was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Jose is a contributor at The Prospector and in the future he wants to dedicate to sports photography and videography around the world.
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