‘We’re going to knock on doors’: Neighborhood rallies to save SAISD school from closure

Neighbors wrote a 17-page proposal, including letters of support from building developers and Ft. Sam Houston, to keep the school open

SAN ANTONIO – John J. Pershing Elementary School parent Jacene Rodriguez said there are deep roots for the school in her community.

“I came here when I was little. My mom came here and it’s just a family school,” she said.

Her home is just on the other side of I-35.

Rodriguez said having to move her children to another school further away would have been a huge burden for her family.

She’s one of many community members who are celebrating the extension the San Antonio ISD leadership has given the campus to remain open.

In the summer, Pershing Elementary School was on the list of closures. After community meetings, the school was removed from the list.

The SAISD board voted Monday to close 15 schools next school year, and others like Pershing will remain on the list for consideration in the future.

Community members like Rose Hill, representing the Government Hill Alliance Neighborhood Association, were instrumental in advocating for the school to remain open.

Neighbors wrote a 17-page proposal, including letters of support from building developers and Ft. Sam Houston, to keep the school open.

“Our objective, basically, is to bring in those 151 students that we lost and help Pershing Elementary School that already has a strong foundation with a good principal, strong teachers, a good community, and a good, strong neighborhood association,” Hill said.

Her proposal highlights the arrival of hundreds of apartment units set to open next school year, low crime statistics in the neighborhood and the changing tax base as some of the reasons to keep the doors open.

But most importantly, a commitment from the neighborhood to increase enrollment.

Hill said their job now is to become a marketing team for Pershing.

“We’re going to knock on doors,” Hill said. “We’re going to talk to those parents that left SAISD and we’re going to say, ‘Come on back, because we got something to offer you. We are a community, we’re going to build up and we need your help.’”

Parents like Angelica Chavarria know the hard work of securing a future for Pershing is just getting started.

“The work is getting started. We are going to start a PTA and start doing some fundraising,” Chavarria said.

As they get to work, Hill has a message to other communities whose neighborhood schools may be in jeopardy of closing.

“Organize, organize, organize, communicate and work together, work together for the goal of the main purpose of saving your school. We’ve got to have a PTA at every single school,” Hill said.


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About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

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