Three Schools May Close For Good

POSTED: Thursday, May 7, 2009 - 7:25am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:23pm

EL PASO--- A few of El Paso's oldest schools may be shutting their doors.

El Paso Independent School District leaders say Houston Elementary, Schuster Elementary, and possibly even Zavala Elementary, may be closed as part of a bigger plan to save money.

The district planned an informational meeting for parents with children at Houston Elementary Wednesday evening.

Maria Facio heard the news Tuesday.
Her son's school, a place where she volunteers, might be closing.
District leaders say it's all in order to cut costs.
"Why change it when they can come over here? It doesn't make sense what the district is doing. It doesn't make sense," she said.

School Board Member Carlos Flores told NewsChannel 9, operating such an old school with so few students has put a damper on the district's finances.

"Yea it does need a little maintenance but it's not as bad," said Facio.

For now, the district's plan is to send most of Houston's students, teachers, and staff to Moreno Elementary.
A newer, but smaller school also working under-capacity.

A few concerns came up as a result of the news.

First, overcrowding. Schools that take on the new students are expected to comply with the student-teacher ratio set by state standards, said Flores.

Then, what about jobs?
According to Flores, no one will be fired.
But El Paso Federation of Teachers President, Lucilla Clarke, says she has concerns for other workers at the schools, like cafeteria and janitorial staff.

"The bigger concern is for the support personnel because there isn't necessarily a place for them at the school where the majority of students will be transferred."

Support personnel, we're told, would be moved to other schools wherever there's a vacancy, said Flores.

Also, the money the district saves will go directly back to students at their new school.
All of this will be decided with parents' input, said Flores.

"There is going to be an open and transparent process for making this decision. We are not going to uproot a community unilaterally," he said.

Parents at Schuster Elementary will have their informational meeting Thursday evening.
As for Zavala, we're told the district is still crunching the numbers to see if
shutting it down is the best solution.

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