Open Letter To Taxpayers – Here’s Why You Should Be Furious About YISD/SISD Superintendents Fight
Dear YISD and SISD taxpayers:
The story about the allegedly drunken fight between YISD Superintendent Xavier De La Torre and SISD superintendent Jose Espinoza is pretty well known by now. De la Torre allegedly headbutted Espinoza at a Whataburger in San Antonio on June 13 while they were in San Antonio on a business trip. There are a quite a few news stories about the incident online. Just Google their last names and San Antonio and you'll find any number of them, but that's not what should have taxpayers in the respective districts angry.
You should be angry because there was a hell of a lot of drinking going on and it was going on with your money.
Your property taxes pay salaries of the De La Torre and Espinoza, and those salaries are well into the six figures. De La Torre's salary is over $300,000, and Espinoza's salary approaches the $300,000 mark. In El Paso, these are some pretty hefty numbers. The superintendents were in San Antonio for Texas Association of School Boards training.
On your property taxes.
When school officials travel on official business, they don't pay their way. You do. They eat, stay in a hotel, and in the case of the people involved in this ridiculous fight, allegedly drink, and drink a lot. They drink so much that by his own account, De La Torre couldn't even remember what he had done and what was done to him.
I don't know about you, but if I drank so much that I blacked out while representing my employer and couldn't remember that I had allegedly picked a fight with a peer, headbutted them, gotten put on my butt with one punch, and been the subject of a police report that said I smelled of alcohol and was the aggressor in the altercation, I would be looking for another job upon my return to El Paso.
And don't think I'm letting Espinoza off the hook. He could have walked away from De La Torre. He could have pressed charges if he felt like he was the one who was assaulted. He could have come out with the whole story instead of hiding behind a school board and thinking all this would just blow over.
Don't even get me started on the inane comments by school board members who are trying their damnedest to protect the superintendents and themselves. They are elected by taxpayers and they are going to approve the "superintendent's travel, hotel and meals, which cost a total of $1,200, according to district records. These expenses include his three-night stay at the Marriott Hotel, airfare, ground transportation, meals and “miscellaneous.” Those numbers are according to the El Paso Times.
You can read that article to find out the slap on the wrist that De La Torre got for not telling the board quickly enough about the altercation. Apparently the fact that there was an altercation in the first place is A-Ok with the board.
If you think I'm being a little harsh, consider this. These are adults we are talking about. This story has made the state and national rounds in the media. It makes us look like complete idiots, and it makes it easier for businesses and elected officials to wash their hands of El Paso. Would you really want to move your business here if you knew what kind of yahoos were running the school districts? I wouldn't.
You are paying a hell of a lot of property taxes for these guys to act like fools while representing you. You should be made as hell. I hope you are, and I hope you remember the school board members who tried to cover this load of baloney up and keep it from the public. You need to vote them out. There's nothing we can do about who is hired as a superintendent, but at least make sure your voice is heard when it comes to school board trustees.