There is no doubt in my mind that my blog post about Jaime Abeytia’s work for the Ysleta Teachers Association, in support of passing the $430.5 million Ysleta bond, has led to much public discussion about the appropriateness of a criminal working to increase the taxes for the Ysleta taxpayers. In response to my post, I have received many messages about other questionable practices at the teachers’ association, that if true, will explain why Abeytia’s job would be the last thing the taxpayers should worry about. It is going to take me some time to go through the allegations and information provided to me. In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you what two Ysleta officials shared with me in regards to Abeytia’s part in the bond election.
The Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) superintendent, Xavier De La Torre and Ysleta Independent School District Board of Trustee’s President, Shane Haggerty, were kind enough to answer three questions that I posed to them in regards to Jaime Abeytia’s involvement in the bond election. I also sent a request to Noel Candelaria, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, of which the Ysleta Teachers Association is affiliated with. I have not received a response from him as of my deadline to post my article, but if I do receive a response I will be sure to post it in an upcoming article. To be fair, I sent my request to Candelaria late in the afternoon.
The questions I asked were:
1. Whether Jaime Abeytia was employed by the Ysleta School District in addition to the working for the Ysleta Teachers Association. I also asked if he worked for the One Ysleta Bond Political Action Committee or the 2015 Bond Advisory Committee.
2. I also asked each if they had had any conversations/discussion with Jaime Abeytia about the bond election.
3. As my final question I asked if either of them had had a conversation with the Ysleta Teachers Association in regards to Abeytia’s employment with them.
I also asked them to share any comments about the bond that they would want me to share with my readers.
I have decided to reprint their responses in their entirety to give you an opportunity to form your own opinion without my commenting about them. I am posting them verbatim as they were sent to me via email.
Dr. Xavier de la Torre wrote:
1. It is also my understanding that Jaime Abeytia is an employee of the Ysleta Teachers Association;
2. I have not participated in any “One Ysleta” Bond PAC events so I can’t confirm or deny his involvement;
3. I have never had a conversation with Jaime Abeytia about anything;
4. I have made the Ysleta Teachers Association aware that there have been concerns expressed surrounding Abeytia’s role within YTA – Mrs. Valencia has reminded me that she is quite capable of making her own decisions surrounding individuals employed by YTA and has asked that inquiries be directed to her; and,
No, I have not had any in-depth conversation with Mrs. Valencia regarding any of her employees – her employees fall outside my scope of authority.
I hope this brings clarity to the absence of any formal relationship between the YISD and Mr. Abeytia. This matter is separate, apart, and distant from the work that we are undertaking in the Ysleta Independent School District to provide students with adequate learning spaces.
Board President Shane Haggerty wrote:
1. As far as I know, Mr. Abeytia works part time for the Ysleta Teachers Association. He’s been with them for a while, but I don’t know when he came onboard. Regarding the Ysleta bond, he was one of the 72 community member volunteers who helped come up with the projects to be included on the bond projects.
a. (re: One Ysleta Bond Political Action Committee) I Don’t know what involvement he has with the PAC, but I don’t know if he has any involvement with them. I think Richard Castro is head of the PAC? I haven’t worked much at all with them.
b. (re: 2015 Bond Advisory Committee) He was a member of the original committee, I don’t believe the membership for the committee going forward has been solidified yet.
2. Mr. Abeytia have [sic] been very positive. He has been one of the most dedicated members of the original 73 people from the committee. He never missed a committee meeting, he came prepared, did his homework, asked tough questions, and advocated hard to get projects for his community. He spoke up against what he felt were projects that shouldn’t be immediate priorities and spoke for projects he felt were priorities whether they were in his area of town, or not.
Afterwards, he has been walking the area, informing voters on bond details (With YTA) he has often spoke of how he feels De La Torre would approach the public when dealing with the bond, and in short, has been a great help in trying to get the best positive message out to the constituency.
3. My talks with YTA really only revolve around teacher and district employee issues. We really never talk about employees of YTA, for no other reason than the topic just never comes up.