EPISD superintendent addresses possible closure of schools

Moye Elementary School is on the list of 10 schools in EPISD that may possibly close. (KFOX14/CBS4)

El Paso Independent School District superintendent Juan Cabrera is speaking out for the first time about the recent announcement to close schools in the district.

The district held a workshop Tuesday to discuss the possible closure of 10 elementary schools.

The reason given for the possible closures was low enrollment numbers but Cabrera said there are more factors being considered.

“We are trying to balance the budget and whether it’s this year or the year after, we just need fewer schools,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera said not enough children are born within the district.

“This is really a housing issue, and it’s about trying to get more families, specifically young families to come into our neighborhoods, the core of the city,” Cabrera said.

Some of the 10 elementary schools proposed to close were also set to be consolidated as approved in the 2016 bond election.

Rivera and Moye Elementary schools are on the list.

Both have an enrollment rate higher than 65 percent, according to records.

We asked the district why Rivera is in danger of closing given the high enrollment number.

A district spokesperson initially said our numbers were not correct but later clarified that they were and explained that Rivera Elementary is projected to have a lower enrollment rate in the future.

“Right now, we know we have too many school buildings. We have 91 schools and 58,000 students,” Melissa Martinez, spokeswoman for EPISD, said.

Moye Elementary in Northeast El Paso, which also has a high enrollment rate, had a new playground installed that was paid with tax dollars from the 2016 bond. The district said that playground will be moved to another school.

Another factor being considered for the closure of Moye Elementary is its location. The district said Dyer Street is known for fatalities and is a danger to the students attending.

Dolores Gutierrez lives in Northeast El Paso.

“If the school has to close because of the need of the children I think that’s best, but it is still sad to see it close,” Gutierrez said.

Some parents are wondering what else is causing the district to lose money.

“They are spending too much money on those buildings or someone is pocketing the money,” Eduardo Contreras said.

Cabrera said he plans to meet with the mayor and others to talk about ways to bring more families into the district’s boundaries.

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