Chamizal neighbors in South-Central El Paso have filed a complaint against the El Paso Independent School District for its plans to make the baseball field at Bowie High School into a hub for 120 school buses.
The complaint was filed through the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid (TRLA) on Tuesday, and asks federal authorities to investigate whether EPISD is violating the community’s civil rights.
As KTSM has reported, some South-Central El Pasoans have been very vocal about their stance against the hub at EPISD board meetings over the past year.
The TRLA’s argument is that the bus hub will increase pollution in an area already prone to fumes from idle commercial trucks on the international bridge nearby.
“I don’t think they would be proposing this transportation facility to a more affluent community,” said Hilda Villegas, who leads the activist group Familias Unidas del Chamizal. “I don’t think that they would be doing this in a community they felt would better defend itself. (EPISD) was betting on the fact that our community was not prepared enough to speak on behalf of their children.”
According to EPISD, this is not a discriminatory issue as Familias Unidas del Chamizal claims. A spokesperson for the district told KTSM there are three bus hubs found in West, Northeast and Central El Paso.
Since EPISD’s headquarters are expected to move, the central hub will be relocated to Bowie High School’s baseball field, according to the district. A new baseball field is currently under construction at the school.
The district also said part of the money from the 2016 voter-approved bond will go towards replacing the district’s bus fleet with propane-fueled buses.
EPISD sent the following statement:
“The El Paso Independent School District has not seen or received a copy or notification of the referenced complaint. The District’s stance on this issue has not changed. EPISD is in compliance with all environmental guidelines needed to move forward with the necessary construction of the transportation hub, and maintains its commitment to use 2015 Penny Swap and Bond 2016 funds to replace its bus fleet with propane-fueled buses that have low impact on the environment. “