Presidio ISD School Board elects new leadership 

latest round of local elections left the organization with a completely clean slate. Outgoing President Ethel Barriga, Vice President Hugo Ramos and Secretary Fidel Baeza decided not to run for re-election, leaving big shoes to fill for the next two years. 

This year’s leadership elections were a little more complicated than usual after four members of the board — a full quorum — left. To satisfy Texas Association of School Board regulations, the outgoing school board had to come back for an encore meeting to choose an interim president to lead the next meeting.

The outgoing board members tapped Iris Galindo for interim board president — and the new school board decided to officially elect her as president at their first meeting. Marco Lujan will now serve as vice president, and Perla Natividad will serve as secretary. 

Lujan and Natividad — along with fellow new members Brenda Witty and Jaime Sanchez — will have a lot on their plate in the coming months. The four will have to attend state training to learn the basics of the Open Meetings Act, as well as traveling to the Texas Association of School Board’s summer training for new board members. 

Though school will soon be out for the summer, the next few months are crucial for school board trustees as they work to create next year’s budget. Presidio ISD students face many challenges: over half of the school district is considered economically disadvantaged and about 60% of students are enrolled in bilingual or English language acquisition programs. 

The school district has struggled in recent years to get graduation rates above the 90.3% state average — though high numbers of families splitting time across the border and the Permian Basin has made it a challenge for kids to come consistently to school. Per the Texas Tribune, around 70% of Presidio High School students are at risk of dropping out of school. 

Superintendent Ray Vasquez said that keeping kids in school and attending regularly was key to making sure the district receives the funding it needs. “We need kids in [classroom] seats to get fully funded,” he explained. 

Despite the challenges the district faces, this week, all eyes are on the Class of 2023 as the community celebrates their achievements. According to Presidio High School Principal Hevila Ramos, 76 students are on track to graduate this year and 15 will also receive their associates degree through a dual credit program at Odessa College. 

This year’s graduation ceremony will take place on Friday at the Blue Devil Gym and will start at 6:30 p.m.