After a lot of speculation about school closures and consolidations, the El Paso Independent School District is now ready to talk about the possibility of closing eight elementary schools, and consolidating a number of middle schools.


The eight elementary schools that a report commissioned by EPISD recommends closing are: Roberts, Vilas, Beall, Alta Vista, Zavala, Fanin, Travis and Schuster. There are no middle or high schools on the list, even though at one time or another, Bowie, Jefferson, Austin, and Irvin high schools had been mentioned as possibly being closed or consolidated.

EPISD's board will also discuss the possible consolidations of:

• Bonham Elementary and MacArthur, currently EPISD's only K-8 schools

• Collins and Newman elementary schools, and Terrace Hills Middle in the Northeast

• Bond Elementary and Lincoln Middle on the West Side

• Zach White Elementary on the West Side

Other recommended changes are boundary changes, classroom additions and a complete rebuild of some campuses. The report suggests reconstruction at most of the district's high schools, and many middle and elementary schools.

It's not known what recommendations will be put into place by the EPISD's board, but the first public discussion by the board about any of these changes in the district will be happening at a public meeting that will be held at Central Office at 6531 Boeing, near the airport, at 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

As an EPISD taxpayer, I want to see changes made that will not only save tax dollars, but serve students. If schools need to be closed or merged, so be it. This is not the time to start talking about being an alum of an elementary, middle, or high school. Schools are buildings where children go for an education. They are not churches, and if they aren't being used to their full potential, we need to stop pouring money into them. Teachers shouldn't expect schools to remain open just so they can have a job. We have to use tax dollars wisely for everyone - students, teachers, and taxpayers.

Hopefully, the district makes smart moves concerning not only the campuses we pay for, but the people who pay for them.