Serial Flasher Arrested, School Reopens After Fire + More — Today in El Paso News
El Paso May Face Budget Problems
City budget officials say El Paso is spending more money than it takes in. Robert Cortinas with the city budget office says property taxes totaled 150-million-dollars last year and sales taxes added another 80-million to city revenues. Cortinas says that's not enough to cover the costs of police and fire protection, not to mention all the other services provided by the city. However, Mayor Oscar Leeser says the numbers are based on last year and does not reflect El Paso's growing economy.
New High School Accommodates Growing Student Population
A new high school is opening next school year in the fastest-growing school district in El Paso. Pebble Hills High School on the far east end of the Socorro Independent School District will house about 13-hundred students. Most of its students will come from overflowing classrooms at Montwood and El Dorado High Schools. Assistant Superintendent Marivel Macias says the district's student population has been growing between two and five-percent every year for the past several years.
Lawmakers Want To Change Truancy Laws
Lawmakers at the state capitol are working on plans to re-write truancy laws in Texas. Under current law, the parents of students with three unexcused absences in a month or 10 in six months could face fines up to 500-dollars. Democratic Senator John Whitmire is sponsoring a bill that would impose graduated fines on parents of truant students starting at 100-dollars. The measure has won initial approval in a Senate committee.
School Reopens Following Fire
It's back to school today for students at Lamar Elementary School. Students had the day off yesterday following a fire on Monday that caused smoke and water damage to several classrooms. Thirty-three firefighters and 13 fire trucks responded to the blaze. Investigators say the fire was probably started by a malfunctioning computer or projector.
Airport Traffic Is Up And Down
Passenger traffic at El Paso International Airport was up and down during February. According to the latest numbers, passenger traffic was down by more than eight-percent in January, but up by two-percent compared to February of 2014. Southwest Airlines led the way with 51-percent of all passengers at the airport in February. American Airlines was second with 24-percent.
Police Bust Horizon Flasher
Sheriff deputies in El Paso County have arrested a suspected repeat flasher. The suspect has been identified as 24-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez who's facing three counts of public indecency with children. Police say he was arrested following a recent report of indecent exposure and he's been booked into the El Paso County Jail.