Why can't school districts use their bond money for student projects?

A parent in the Ysleta Independent School District wanted to know why the district can't fully pay for a school project after YISD voters approved a more than $400 million bond in 2015.

The parent, Richard, complained that students at Valle Verde Early College High School were forced to raise money to pay for a trip to Austin because the district wouldn't foot the bill.

Richard didn't say what the trip involved, but I reached out to YISD for a response to his overall concerns about the district's spending priorities.

Ysleta ISD spokesman Chris Lechuga told me the bond voters approved can only be used for capital spending, things like building or renovating school campuses, buying land or purchasing school equipment. He said the bond money cannot be used to help pay for a school district's annual operating budget, which includes items like teacher's pay and student activities.

But for parents like Richard who are seeking help for their kids, there are a couple of places they can turn. Ysleta ISD has a department called Pupil and Parent Services, which can respond to specific concerns and complaints.

It's also a good idea to learn who your school board trustees are and reach out to them because the school board has the ultimate control over the district's budget.

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