I know how you feel - I freaked a little bit when I heard the news about City Council wanting to absorb the school district too. However, it's not all bad and there's actually a lot of good to come from the conversation.
I have said for years (I'm getting old if I'm starting to claim I've done things "for years") that EPISD isn't structured correctly. I have also talked about consolidating the many overlapping governments in El Paso. But... I never said anything about one of those entities adopting the other. I was hoping to see how the whole County absorbing the City thing went first... (some people reading this just had their head spin around like a top).
Hand it to City Council - they see a problem and they want to fix it. Do I think certain members of City Council could do it? You bet. Do I think other members of council would end up in prison along with all of their friends if they took over EPISD? 100 percent sure that would happen.
The City unfortunately is in no place to get into the management of another bureaucracy. Forget the legalities and all that mess for a second and just look at the big picture... the picture is too big.
I do commend council for recognizing the problem and trying to attack it, but they've got the wrong idea here.
First of all - let's look at what it really is to run a school district. In all honesty, running a school district isn't much about education. It's about managing a gigantic real estate portfolio and the purchasing power that comes with budgets that are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It's much more Wall Street than Sesame Street. Whoever is running the thing, whether individually or by board, must know more about state procurement laws and property management than they do about teaching six-year-olds to read. And that's an unfortunate thing.
The best way to get the focus back on education is to break up that real estate giant (EPISD) into smaller districts that are much more manageable for those who have a background in education instead of business management. I'd say you could even do it by council district to make it easy. And if council wanted a hand in the local education of students the member from that district would have seat on that school board as a voting member.
It's that easy. Well, it's not easy to make it happen because state law makes it nearly impossible. That's what happens when your government gets too big - you can't function within it.
Having smaller districts will allow for precise management of the schools. What works "across the board" in the EPISD now probably doesn't really work all that well for every school. Problems and successes have tended to break along geographic lines - why not separate by those lines? That allows management a narrow focus when taking on problems - the focus missing at EPISD now and probably one of the reasons they decided to cheat.
Think about it for now and I'll write up a more detailed piece later that ties in parents, smaller districts and competition.