CISD board president, students walk out of meeting after argument over agricultural area
A million-dollar project and the school board president’s contract were the source of a tense Canutillo Independent School Board meeting Monday night.
It was a tense and contentious meeting and it all began when board members decided to move a $1 million agricultural facility from Garcia Elementary to Canutillo Middle School.
“It’s incredibly disappointing. I thought they would advocate for the kids,” said FFA vice president Marissa Cereceres.
The facility was previously approved for construction at Garcia Elementary.
The contractor took soil samples, put in a well and cement and brought in equipment.
But Monday night, the CISD board voted to change the location to Canutillo Middle School, leaving some students disappointed.
“The water doesn’t flow uphill. It’s better for it to be Garcia because the water is here,” said Amanda Hull with FFA.
“If it were to be at CMS, it’d be hard to get our tractor there, our farm implements, we’d have to roll it down Bosque,” Cereceres said.
Board trustee Laure Searls was against the move.
She said the CMS buildings are filled with asbestos and they would have to be torn down, making the projects more expensive.
It would sit on 4 acres at CMS, compared to 25 at Garcia.
“For us to turn our back on these students and their program is beyond my wildest imagination,” Searls said.
Mando Rodriguez, Blanca Trout and Stephanie Frietze voted to move the barn to CMS.
Board President Annette Brigham, who voted to keep the agricultural building at Garcia, walked out.
“This is not a Democracy in Canutillo, I’m leaving,” Brigham said.
Then there were parents and students who were also infuriated.
Brigham thinks this was a personal move, since the Garcia location is close to Searl’s home.
“Mr. Rodriguez came to me absolutely and said to me, ‘there’s no way that building is going to be built next to Ms. Searl’s property.’” Brigham said.
“Yes, it goes behind her property. It is. But nothing personal towards her. If we put it over there, it’s only a certain group who’s going to benefit from that,” Trout said.
Some students said they are now looking for legal advice.
And after Brigham walked out, another controversial item became the focus.
The board elected Trout to replace Brigham as president. That vote was scheduled for the meeting, but happened while Brigham was out of the room.