Fast and Loose at Taxpayers’ Expense

The Inside Scoop

Ray Quiroga


Let it never be said that our readers are apathetic, especially as it pertains to City and school district matters.

As indicated by the veracity and thoughtfulness of the letters we receive, the people of San Benito are passionate about their community, especially when they feel the citizenry is being wronged, conned or they feel that things have gotten out of hand as in the case of the school district which continually displays its boundless imagination when it comes to ways to frivolously spend our tax dollars, whether it’s by way of the construction a fence to “protect” certain vehicle(s) at the administration building or renting the Rancho Viejo Banquet Hall to dine with former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, who just happened to serve as Bill Clinton’s Housing Secretary. True to form as it relates to the Clinton Administration, Cisneros resigned from his post in disgrace after it was discovered that he lied to the FBI during his background check regarding payments he had made to his former mistress. In 1995, Cisneros was indicted for that offense and later pled guilty. He was ultimately pardoned by Clinton. Apparently, the San Benito CISD didn’t see a problem with any of this and found him to be a fine example for our youth here in San Benito when he was invited to speak to members of the administration, board and selected guests.

Lest we forget, the thousands given to a marketing company to “produce” the district’s quarterly newsletter which reads more like the superintendent’s audition reel for when he’s ready to jump ship. As I and a number readers have addressed through their  letters,  much of  the work put into the newsletter is still being done by district staff, making the expense that much more questionable.

I haven’t even mentioned the summer trip to Orlando which really put a new spin on the term “Mickey Mouse”. Incidentally, we’ll be reexamining that entire trip in the coming weeks.

Of course, we’ve been slowly peeling away the layers regarding the whereabouts and status of Dr. Kevin Phillips, who’s been “missing in action” since the beginning of the year. And to top it all off, the district wants the taxpayers to pass a $40 million bond this election cycle – that’s $40 million for $26 million worth of nonessential projects. Then there was the Southwest Key debacle which directly or indirectly put us on this path.

And it’s not so much that the district spent $16,288.35 for barbeque catering services this past August, it’s that, once again, our tax dollars couldn’t stay closer to home, as the district chose to do business with a company in Weslaco. That’s at least not the case in May, when the district spent $15,750 on catering for another pachanga, but those monies stayed closer to home.

For all this and more, the Superintendent was rewarded, by way of unanimous vote, a contract worth an excess of $202,776 annually, before benefits, which includes $6K for the burden of relocating within school district boundaries, a mobile phone allowance of $200 monthly and a housing allowance of $1,600 per month. In exchange, the board insures that his evaluations will be done behind closed doors – so much for the transparency the board likes to tout.

I’ve  only  spoken to the Superintendent  once, and  well, as  regular  readers of my column know, based off that conversation, I’m not expecting him to send me a Christmas card this year, but one thing that the voters of San Benito have proven is that the bill comes due and the countdown to School Board Election of 2020  has commenced.

Until then, remember to make your voices heard this election season with regards to the bond. As a reminder, early voting will continue through Nov. 2nd at various locations, with some locations listed in this edition. Election Day is Nov. 6th at your respective precinct. Locations will be printed in next week’s edition.

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