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The truth about Austin school renovation

Facts, Commentary, Analysis and Opinion

A year after the project to convert Austin elementary school into fancy new offices for EPISD administrators began, and only during the heat of a failing political campaign, school board president Lupita Fuentes and vice president Hilda Martinez have been flushed out of hiding to be "forced" to make a "clarification" about this project.

Fuentes' and Martinez' "clarifications" are nothing short of insulting to everyone's common sense!

The first "clarification" came in the form of a scripted and pre-recorded video by Lupita Fuentes and prepared for posting on the Hilda Martinez for School Board Facebook page. Fuentes begins the script by looking into the camera to say, "Information has come to our attention that requires clarification. No taxpayers' dollars are being spent on Austin school."

First huge lie and not a shread of evidence presented to explain how she managed to get a multi-million-dollar project for FREE. Why? Because it is NOT free and of course taxpayers' dollars are being spent for the luxurious administration offices, but the insults to taxpayers and voters have continued on for days.

Martinez posted the Fuentes video with additional commentary reiterating, "No taxes (sic) payers dollars are being spent on Austin school."

A visitor to her political campaign page asked, "Just wondering then where is the money coming from to renovate Austin Elementary into Central offices cause my 2 oldest attended school there and I thought the school was pretty well preserved?" Martinez then responded, "Ma'am the school is well preserved. The money used to renovate Austin is a combination of state funds and self-funded programs. No TRE monies were used for this remodel."

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Amazingly, Hilda Martinez is unaware that "state funds" come from taxpayers and that these funds are delivered to educate Maverick County school children - NOT to build luxurious offices complete with private bathrooms for Gilberto Gonzalez and Ismael and Samuel Mijares. Hilda Martinez went so far as to post the first picture ever to come out of hallowed interior of this super secret project that shows a bathroom with both a urinal and a toilet. What is the message here, only men will be hired for top administration jobs? Or if you are a female part of you interview process will be proving you can urinate standing up?  Are they going to remodel the remodel now again to remove the urinals? Looks like stupid wasteful spending of taxpayers' dollars through any shade of glasses you are wearing.

Now let's educate Martinez on "self-funded programs" and the origination of these funds and again the withholding of these monies from our school children. The "self-funded programs" referred to are actually excessively over-funded insurance accounts known as "internal service accounts" and not included in the general fund so the activity of these accounts is only shared publicly once a year buried deep in the annual financial audit. This arrangement has allowed Ismael Mijares to hide millions upon millions of education dollars that rightfully belong to our school children out of sight of taxpayers and parents.

In fact, in mid-October of 2016, Mijares suddenly issued a memo to superintendent Gilberto Gonzalez and the school board that he had millions of dollars hidden away and available to build the office of his dreams for himself and other administrators. The memo outlined how EPISD really was sitting upon a $33-million cash surplus and not the $18-million he had reported to the school board and public just a month and a half earlier on August 31, 2016 at the close of the fiscal year.

If you owned a pharmacy, a dental practice, a construction company, were a private practice attorney, a manager of a municipal water and sewer system or even a governmental bureaucrat in charge of  welfare distributions - you would instantly fire your accountant if he lied to you about $15-million. Not at EPISD! At EPISD, Lupita Fuentes, Hilda Martinez and the rest of the school board pinned $35,000 worth of medals on Ismael Mijares and knighted him Lord Financial Genius of EPISD for hiding all this education fund money away from Maverick County school children.

Throughout this school board election Lupita Fuentes, Hilda Martinez and Victor Perry have passed themselves off as elitists, even to the extent of calling themselves "the dream team", and above reproach about their actions because all we are is lowly, uneducated voters and taxpayers. The fact is once a person wants to seek public office they are asking to represent everyone and in the case of school board are promising to represent students by giving them the absolute best education possible. If they are so unwilling to do so, Lupita Fuentes and Hilda Martinez can get out of the way and go back to the high society circles they think they run in and be happy.

Elected officials should always be open to questioning on their actions and should provide "clarifications" or rather answers constantly and consistently - not just every four years when the fear of a voter revolt results in a "clarification" that is nothing more than an insulting lie because they consider us common taxpayers and voters ignorant.

Since they think of themselves as elitists and above you as taxpayers, above you as voters, and do not share your concerns as parents by not representing the best interests of your children and our students, then once every four years we get the opportunity to throw them OUT of office.

Seeing a pattern here yet? Lupita Fuentes, Hilda Martinez, the rest of the school board and the royalty that make up top administration have a very different view of what is "taxpayers' dollars" than us common voters and taxpayers. You see they figure once they rob your pockets through excessive taxation and especially after they hide the money from your school kids - it becomes their own personal "cookie jar" filled with millions of your dollars to spend lavishly on themselves. After all they did steal the money fairly and squarely. To them it's like a game of "three-card monte" and there's a "sucker" born every day and we the lowly voters and taxpayers are all their "marks."

Perhaps if we were all educated, high society doctors, like they seem to think they are, we could recognize these symptoms for the cancer it is upon our community and the damage it is doing to our future generations by denying our children the education we are paying for. But Lupita Fuentes, Hilda Martinez and all the rest of the accomplices have already determined we are just too STUPID to know better. I'm insulted! Are you insulted?

Tuesday, November 6 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. is the last chance you have to say you want your tax dollars spent on your children's education and NOT on over-paid, selfish, lying administrators. Make you voice heard loud and clear in the ballot box of a polling place in your neighborhood!

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