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Residents want CISD resolution opposing low incoming housing to be replaced

A day after the Canutillo Independent School District board of trustees agreed to re-word a resolution opposing low income housing, some residents and the Texas Board of Education is calling for the board to throw away the resolution.

CISD said the low-income housing development won’t benefit the district financially. But those opposing the resolution said it can be discriminatory towards poor families.

But for both sides, this could shed light on a problem they both agree on: lack of funding for schools.

“The proposed resolution is misguided,” said Gerogina Perez, a representative for the Texas Board of Education. “I don’t’ think the resolution speaks to the heart of the issue, which is lack of funding.”

Perez said the resolution closes the door on education for poor families.

“We want to welcome new students, but we want to be sure that we’re going to have the resources to give them what they deserve,” said Liza Rodriguez, the CISD spokesperson.

Perez said the board should create a new resolution.

“They should draft one that’s at the heart of the issue which is insufficient and inadequate funding,” Perez said.

CISD board trustee Armando Rodriguez said he agreed with that option and said the board should issue a statement calling for increased state funds.

Board President Laure Searls said that the state requested the district's opinion on a low-income housing development that has been proposed in its boundaries. The builder, Tropicana Homes, is seeking state tax credits for the project, to be called Vinton Palms.

“We don’t really know what kind of money the district would receive from this,” Searls said.

Multiple trustees said they would support the housing complexes if current Canutillo families had first priorities to it as the residences.

Vinton officials said Vinton Palms would serve families already living in the school district's boundaries as a priority.

Andrea Cortez is a resident in Canutillo. She said she graduated high school from the district, and said her two younger siblings attend school in the district. She said she understands the problem.

“It’s always been hard, there’s not enough money to go around,” Cortez said. “The district has always been there to help us whenever and wherever possible.”

Cortez said she understands the need for more funding, but does not agree with the districts idea of a resolution opposing low-income housing developments.

“It’s just not fair for other kids,” Cortez said. “The district is supposed to be there and welcoming to all students, no matter how much funding it’s lacking.”

Cortez said she will graduate from NMSU this spring, and is a prime example of the success the district can accomplish with lack of funds.

“By no means were we the richest district,” Cortez said. “But the district still tried whatever they could no matter what. They did what they could to push us forward.”

The trustees said it wanted the new draft of the resolution to have different wording, and get rid of phrases on the first draft of the resolution like “social and related problems.”

Trustees said the draft came from another school district, but didn’t specify which one

They'll vote on an edited resolution at a public meeting on Feb. 28.

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