The Ysleta School District continues to educate voters on its November bond election, but at least one parent isn’t pleased with the district involving students in this informational campaign.
Valerie Smith emailed the ABC-7 newsroom concerned about Eastwood High staff helping older students register to vote. Another parent told ABC-7 about Eastwood is offering students community service hours if they spend time handing out informational fliers.
“Is it legal for a taxing entity, let alone a school, to openly advocate for a self-serving tax increase?,”Smith asked.
“We could not do anything that could be interpreted as attempting to coerce or compel someone to vote in any particular way,” said YISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre.
YISD will tell you its schools are crumbling, its technology is dated, and its athletics suffering. But it will not tell you to vote for the $430 million bond that will fix those issues.
“When the board decided to put the proposition on the November ballot, the very next morning we sent out the do’s and don’ts,” De La Torre said.
Literally, there a list of do’s and don’ts, including don’t encourage people how to vote and don’t advocate at work.
A handful of Eastwood students said they were told about a new way to get community service hours, by handing out informational fliers. Other said the school was offering to register them to vote so they could participate in the November election.
This infuriated Smith, who wrote to ABC-7, “Their actions are blatant and their interests are self-serving.”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reminding students that are 18 years of age and eligible to vote to participate in the process,” De La Torre said.
De La Torre also confirmed, yes students can get community services hours if they pass out information.
“If students are willing to pass out information, not anything that is campaign information or would influence the vote,” De La Torre said.
The line that can’t be crossed is telling someone to vote yes. De La Torre says if your student was told something along those lines, contact the district. Also, keep in mind there are people who will tell you to vote “yes”. That is the political action committee, made up of volunteers.