Parents speak up about CISD alternative education plans

Middle school parents upset with new plan

Matthew Smith, Good Morning El Paso Weekend Anchor / Reporter
POSTED: 11:14 PM MST Nov 14, 2013    UPDATED: 05:59 PM MST Jan 16, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

Clint Independent School District's plans to renovate East Montana Middle School has angered some parents. It's not the renovations that have them upset, but what they're for.

The district has made plans to transfer alternative education students from portable classrooms sitting on the Horizon High campus to the middle school. According to Laura Cade, the public relations director for CISD, the portables are damaged and would be too costly to repair.

"Preparing and utilizing the currently vacant wing at East Montana Middle School for the program will cost 1/3 the amount to renovate the portable buildings," wrote Cade in an email to ABC-7.

Maribel, a parent who asked her last name not be printed, said she has concerns. She's heard the school will be blocked off to keep the students from mingling -- that isn't enough for her. She has a 7th grader who attends the school, and she thinks it changes how safe the school is.

"There are a lot of issues they're putting in here," said Maribel. "They're promising a lot of thing, but what is it going to cost us?"

Maribel said the alternative students deserve their own campus, she just doesn't like the idea it's under the same roof as younger students. She said it's hard to bring it up, but she doesn't like the idea of troubled students as old as high school seniors crossing paths with a student just entering 6th grade.

Alternative students at East Montana's campus isn't entirely a new idea. In 2003, the same portable classrooms located at Horizon High were next to the middle school. However, Maribel -- and other parents who've voiced a concern to ABC-7 -- said it was different because they weren't under the same roof.

The district discussed the concerns with parents at a meeting Thursday evening.