Members of the Board of Trustees govern and oversee the school district. Trustees set the vision and goals for the district, oversee the superintendent (who they can fire and hire), and adopt the annual tax rate and operating budget. This is an unpaid, nonpartisan position. Trustees serve four-year terms. You can find SISD trustee district boundaries by clicking HERE. Click HERE to view a personalized sample ballot.

Who’s running for this seat?

Eduardo Mena

Eduardo “Eddie” Mena, 57, a current Socorro ISD trustee, did not respond.

Tony Ayub

Tony Ayub, 63, is an El Paso Community College professor

Alice Gardea

Alice J. Gardea, 46, is a retired educator.

Candidate Questionnaires

Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 100 words. Responses have been lightly edited for grammar.

What experience do you have with curriculum, overseeing budgets, or setting and analyzing policy? Please explain.

Eduardo “Eddie” Mena: No response.

Tony Ayub: I currently work for El Paso Community College as the program coordinator for the Emergency Medical Services paramedic degree program. My duties include curriculum evaluation and development as a major part of my job. In my previous employment with the city of El Paso as deputy chief of EMS, I was responsible for budgeting, policy development and operations of the department. I served on the SISD board previously.  I was involved with budget, personnel issues, curriculum and facilities during my tenure.

Alice J. Gardea: I worked in education for 28 years, as a school counselor, one of my responsibilities was to serve on the school’s leadership team. One of our responsibilities was to create the Campus Improvement Plan which addressed the needs of our campus. The CIP described how Title I funds would be utilized to meet the needs identified in the Campus Needs Assessment as well as address the strategies that would be used to address the learning gaps in students.

What are your budget priorities and how would you balance funding those priorities while keeping property taxes in check?

Eduardo “Eddie” Mena: No response.

Tony Ayub: My budget priorities are to work toward improving the salaries of school district employees.  Fund improved safety measures for campuses with the use of technology, mutual aid agreements, and training for district officers and staff. I would actively seek and support additional school funding from state and national sources. Fiscal accountability must always be maintained to assure that spending is done efficiently to keep property taxes in check.  

Alice J. Gardea: I had the opportunity to visit our state capitol with the American Federation of Teachers. We met with our local elected officials to discuss the current Legislative session and the importance of the decisions being made for public schools. There are several bills up for consideration that could increase the basic allotments for public schools.  The help our community needs begins at the state level. Priority must be given to public education if we hope to see any relief in property taxes.

What recommendations would you make for the district to recruit and retain quality teachers and other employees?

Eduardo “Eddie” Mena: No response.

Tony Ayub: In the past, the school district had been a district of choice for students, teachers and staff.  However, in recent years, there has been a steady decline in teacher and employee satisfaction. By improving management styles and the work environment, teachers and students will feel more comfortable and eager to engage in teaching and learning activities. Employee salaries and benefits continue to be below the average in some areas and should be adjusted to meet current standards.

Alice J. Gardea: Teachers and all school employees need to be respected, and valued. They deserve a defined work day which will provide them with necessary family/personal time. They need to be compensated for hours they work outside of the work day and finally, they need support. Our teachers are overwhelmed with unrealistic class sizes as well as “other duties as assigned.” 

How would you address the district’s enrollment trends?

Eduardo “Eddie” Mena: No response.

Tony Ayub: SISD has seen minimal growth in the past few years. Currently, it is showing a slight increase from previous years. To encourage students to attend our schools, I believe we need to improve the learning environment, and safety, as well as provide teachers with the time to focus on teaching. Socorro schools offer superior education and services to our students and we should make that our highlight.

Alice J. Gardea: SISD is blessed to be the district in our community that continues to expand due to growth on the Eastside of El Paso. Unfortunately, the state allotments for public education are being threatened by the use of vouchers, this will take money away from all ISD’s. This trend will negatively affect SISD’s ability to meet the needs of our growing community. We need to work together to educate all Texan’s about the danger of school vouchers.

How would you respond to special interest groups or parents who want to limit access to existing curriculum or library books they perceive to be in conflict with their personal beliefs?

Eduardo “Eddie” Mena: No response.

Tony Ayub: After listening to the individual to make sure I understand their perspective, I would first look for areas of common ground. I would then try to evaluate the areas of disagreement to assess any need for change. If we still disagree, I will clearly outline my views and why I believe they are in the best interest of the education of ALL the children we serve. I would try to leave open channels for communication in the future.

Alice J. Gardea: First of all, I think it’s important that we listen to each other, we don’t always need to agree to be effective.  Everyone has an opinion and all opinions deserve to be expressed.  Effective communication is more likely to end in a compromise if all parties feel respected.

Aside from free breakfast/lunch programs and after-school care through partner organizations, what other resources and social services should schools offer the community to help ensure overall student success?

Eduardo “Eddie” Mena: No response.

Tony Ayub: Ninety percent of school employees feel unsafe/fear gun violence at work. This concern surely spreads to our students and the community. Enhancing school safety will help. School districts should consider the availability of mental health assistance to students, teachers, and staff to help them cope with the uncertainty and anxiety due to excessive testing and fear of school violence. School districts could also guide students and families to other resources available in the community.

Alice J. Gardea: Today’s students NEED mental health support more than ever, either in the form of individual/family counseling or a mentoring program for at-risk students. Every student needs at least one adult that they can trust outside of their home. This type of support can help students succeed academically, but more importantly, it can help prevent school violence by making sure that no one feels alone.

Read more about this race

Socorro ISD trustees poised to fire police chief

Superintendent Nate Carman is recommending that SISD trustees terminate Police Chief Jose Castorena on Tuesday due to “incompetency,” “inefficiency” and “insubordination.” The chief says he’s being retaliated against for investigating a trustee.

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