Parents filing federal, state-level complaints in efforts to save two EPISD schools

El Paso News

After seven days of starving themselves, the hunger strike is over for a group of local parents of Beall and Burleson elementary schools.  

They’ve been protesting El Paso Independent School District’s plan to close a pair of aging campuses.

As KTSM previously reported EPISD Board of Trustees voted in January to close Alta Vista, Beall, Burleson and Schuster elementary schools.

The week-long hunger strike wrapped up Monday afternoon, but parents say the next step is filing federal and state complaints.

“It’s been very hard but the only reason why we’re doing it is to get the attention of the local political people to see if they can assist us in anything so that they don’t close our schools,” Crystal Rosales, a Burleson parent, said.

The activists say they’ve met with El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and other local elected officials who support their cause.

“Right now we’re waiting for TRLA to submit the complaint through the department of education and to the TEA and then we just have to wait on what happens with the complaints,” Rosales said.

In an email statement, an EPISD spokesperson said:

“EPISD is moving forward with its plans to right-size the school district.  The closure of schools was a difficult, but necessary step to create sustainability in EPISD.  Wehave been working with families and employees to make the transition as smooth as possible. Our receiving schools are ready and happy to welcome their new students in the upcoming school year.  EPISD is confident that the right-sizing measures will help bringfurther financial stability to the District, which in turn will translate to better services for students.” 
 
Parents say the hunger strike gained the attention they were looking for from the community.
 
“Now that we have Veronica Escobar backing us up at the federal level and we have state representatives as well saying that they’re going to back up our complaint that we’re going to file, then we accomplished what we set to accomplish,” Hilda Villegas, a member of the Beall Parents Committee, said.
 
The parents say they have a meeting on Tuesday with other political officials regarding the complaints they plan to file. For now, they say they will continue to hold the District accountable for its decisions.
 
“We’ve been doing this for 3 years but the district has the power has the money but we have all the energy and we have all our anger and frustration and we’re demanding justice for our kids,” Villegas said.
 

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