Santa Teresa parents upset children cannot attend nearby school

Santa Teresa Elementary School (CBS4)

Some parents in Santa Teresa are upset that their children have to attend a school that’s 6 miles away when there is school just around the corner.

CBS4 Problem Solvers went to the area to find out why.

Some students who are within walking distance of Santa Teresa Elementary School are not allowed to go there.

Instead, parents have to drive them to Anthony, New Mexico.

One of the mothers CBS4 spoke to said the distance she has to drive is a health concern for her because one of her five children has asthma.

“It’s 25 minutes away before I even get to those kind of emergencies or anything,” Myrna Hernandez said. “One time, he was having frequent asthma attacks and it was taking me a long time before I even got to the school. I was driving all nervous the long way.”

Hernandez’s children have to attend La Union Elementary School in Anthony, New Mexico.

Raul Telles, Villa Vencia neighborhood president, said having to send students elsewhere is unfair.

“We’re inconveniencing both the students and the parents, especially when we have taxpaying citizens that live in this community,” Telles said.

Telles organized a meeting for parents to discuss the issue. A petition has been set up, urging the district to reconsider its zoning rules.

“In reality, what kind of quality of education are these children getting if they have to commute extra far and they have to get up extra early and then the stress that’s putting on the parents themselves,?” Telles said.

The reason some of those students cannot attend Santa Teresa Elementary is because the school is at capacity, according to Luis Villalobos, spokesman for the Gadsden Independent School District.

He sent the following statements:

A Resolution was passed by the Board of Education of the Gadsden I.S.D. circa late August, 2014. This Resolution allowed students who were presently at Santa Teresa Elementary School (STE) to remain there through the terminal grade. A new housing development was located across the street from STE. The Board Resolution addressed the attendance zone of all new resident students as the La Union (LU) Elementary School area.
Intra-district transfers are approved by Gadsden ISD on a case by case basis but primarily depending on the receiving school's capacity. In other words the school that is being requested must have the room at the specific grade level of the student requesting the transfer. In this case, Santa Teresa Elementary is at capacity at all grade levels and cannot admit this student. Santa Teresa Elementary does have a waiting list thus placing parents in order of when their request was made.

Hernandez hopes the issue will be resolved before classes start next month.

“It’s very important because, although I have to leave the medications at school, you never know the kind of emergency you’re going to have,” Hernandez said.

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