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EPISD Shake-up: Zavala, Schuster, Crosby elementary schools could close

Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas -- Three elementary schools could face shutdown as part of the El Paso ISD's shake-up in an attempt to save money.

The district said it is looking at ways to consolidate its older elementary schools that are not at capacity.

Those schools include Zavala Elementary in South Central and Schuster and Crosby in the Northeast.

It's not the first time some of these schools have been on the chopping block.

Parents fought to keep the doors open at Zavala and Schuster first in 2009, then again in 2011.

They were able to save the schools.

Now district officials, who refused our requests for an interview, would only say they are looking at ways to save money in the face of losing $9 million in funding from the state.

"I would fight it. I'm going to fight again. I fought last time and I'll keep fighting again this time," said Stacey Vanegas, the PTA president at Zavala.

If the schools close, many parents want to know where their kids would go.

In 2011, the plan was to send the students to Burleson, Dowell and Crosby.

But now Crosby is also on the chopping block.

"You're going to be (uprooting) the students. 'You go to this school and you go to that school.' You're separating kids that have been together since pre-kinder. It's not right to these children," said Vanegas.

EPISD said Zavala, Schuster an Crosby are older campuses with low enrollment.

However, parents say they like sending their children to a small school.

"Where do they want to put us? Overwhelmed with 30, 40, 50 students in one class? That's not right to the children. They need their education," said Vanegas.

Ernesto Juarez lives just down the street from where his daughter goes to school at Schuster. He said closing the school would be a big inconvenience.

"I have to figure out what other schools there are for my daughter, location-wise, transportation-wise," he said.

Preliminary plans discussed by the district include demolishing Crosby but repurposing Schuster and Zavala as maintenance offices.

In 2011, the school board told KFOX14 closing Schuster and Zavala could save the district about $2.5 million dollars.

But parents were able to save the two schools, in a narrow 4-3 vote by the school board.

However, then school Board President Patricia Hughes told KFOX14 she believed the board was just ignoring the inevitable.

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