Ysleta school board puts $425M bond measure on ballot in wake of superintendent Whataburger scuffle

Ysleta ISD bond

EL PASO, Texas - The Ysleta Independent School District board voted narrowly on Monday evening to put a new $425 million bond measure on the November ballot, despite some public confidence questions in the wake of a well-publicized scuffle involving the district's superintendent.

A divided board voted 4-3 to send the bond measure, much of which would be used to fund security measures, to the Nov. 5 general election ballot. (See the document below). Monday night was the deadline to place such a measure before voters.

Separately, the board approved a recommended tax rate for the 2019-20 tax year of $1.35, down from $1.45, per $100 of home valuation.

The bond and tax decisions come after the board late last month voted to suspend Superintendent Xavier De La Torre for three days without pay stemming from his fight with another El Paso-area school superintendent at an out-of-town Whataburger restaurant.

An unscientific online poll conducted by ABC-7 found a majority of the public felt De La Torre's penalty didn't go far enough given the conduct involved and all the negative attention it generated for the district.

De La Torre maintained following Monday night's board meeting that he should not be the issue, but rather said the focus should be on the needs of the district's students. He told ABC-7 the bond measure will address needed items for school facilities.

The last bond approved by Ysleta voters was in 2015 for $430 million, roughly $20 million less than a $450 million bond that was denied by voters months prior. 

The majority of that bond went to new schools and school renovations -- including $155.7 million to build new campuses for Bel Air Middle, Del Valle Middle/Mission Valley Elementary and $127.2 million for school renovations, including $93 million for Eastwood High.

The rest of the money went to school security, upgraded technology, improvements to fine art and athletic facilities.

At the time that bond passed, taxes had gone up from $1.305 to $1.475 per $100 of home valuation -- an increase of about $66 a year.

During the 2017-18 tax year, the tax rate went down to $1.46, and during the 2018-19 tax year it went down to $1.455.

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