SAN ANTONIO – Edgewood Independent School District is the latest San Antonio area public district to propose closing schools amid low enrollment and lack of funding.
The district’s finance and facilities committee on Tuesday proposed closing Winston Intermediate School of Excellence (WISE) and Wrenn Middle School next school year as part of EISD’s Rethink & Redesign process launched earlier this year.
The process was launched as an effort to rethink how the district provides a quality education to students and redesign the district so that it maximizes resources to ensure student, parent, teacher and community success in the future.
Valerie Lozano’s youngest son attends WISE. Lozano, like many other Edgewood parents, is trying figure out where her child will go to school next year. She said her son will likely go to a charter school and then back to Edgewood ISD for middle school.
“It makes me angry and frustrated that they’re doing this to our kids. I get that it’s money, but at the end of the day, you’re hurting kids,” Lozano said.
Lozano said her son would have to enroll in his fourth school in almost as many years if the proposal passes.
“It’s kind of disappointing because my youngest son, which will be in fifth grade next year, has already been affected by the changes,” Lozano said.
Dwindling enrollment and attendance has hit the district hard over the past decade. Many districts are also facing a loss of millions of dollars in funding they received during the pandemic.
Edgewood ISD had 11,935 students during the 2012-2013 school year, according to the Texas Education Agency. That number is around 8,200 students this year. It follows the similar pattern from other inner city school districts. San Antonio ISD, Harlandale and South San ISDs have all voted to close campuses.
If WISE were to close, there would be no Edgewood ISD elementary schools located south of Highway 90. That means that parents, students and teachers would likely go to Perales Elementary north of the highway.
“Its going to be very dangerous, especially if they don’t have transportation for these kids,” Lozano said.
Edgewood ISD superintendent Dr. Eduardo Hernandez said many parents have opted to drive or walk their kids to school after COVID, but he assures there will be options for students who need transportation.
“If a student needs transportation, we’re going to get them there. We won’t be allowing students to cross any busy streets or any what are called hazardous roads,” Hernandez said. “We have been providing service across the district because we have an innovation platform where if you want to attend a school that is not in your neighborhood, we will get you there.”
The board will make a final decision on Nov. 14. Hernandez said any decision made will be done in the best interest of the district, its students and the future.
“We’re going to talk to our parents. We’re going to those specific parents in those communities and we’re going to elevate all kinds of handbooks in terms of transitioning and looking at people that are going to be ready to receive the students,” Hernandez said. “We do listen, but understand that part of that process is learning to listen to one another and really work through this because we’ll be stronger as a group. My primary concern continues to be the kids. They’re the ones who have to go through this change as well as our staff.”