LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock ISD held a meeting with Dupre Elementary parents and community members Monday night to discuss the possible closure of the school.
LISD announced the possibility last month, saying that no jobs would be lost but that next school year students would have the option to go either to Brown Elementary or Carmona Harrison.
But tensions rose at the meeting as some parents and community members voiced their concern about Lubbock ISD’s plan to close the school.
“What these kids need isn’t more programs, it’s people,” said community member Erin Owens.
LISD cited the two main reasons for the suggested closure as declining enrollment and financial benefit.
Dupre currently has less than 200 students, many of whom do not live in the Dupre district. LISD added that sending the kids to a larger school could bring down the cost per student by about $1,500, and offer more resources to each student.
“Dupre students can fit into the Brown Facility and make that more vibrant. As far as student success we have seen that when we put students into that larger faculty and we can provide more of those wraparound services, we actually do see that student outcomes improve,” said LISD Superintendent Dr. Kathy Rollo.
But many parents and community members at the meeting feel that this move will harm the kids forced to leave their school.
“A seven-year-old should not have this weight on their shoulders,” said Leia Arteaga, parent to a Dupre second grader and creator of the Save Dupre Elementary 2021 Facebook group. “They are panicked. And no amount of reassurance that it’s going to be okay or they will make new friends at their new school is going to make this okay for them.”
Folks also expressed concern about the possible damage that closing the school could bring to the community surrounding it.
“We know what happens after that. People leave because they don’t have a reason to be here. They are here because of the school and once it leaves the community starts to fall apart,” said longtime community member Will Terrell.
But as far as Monday’s meeting, members in the community hoped they got their message across.
“There are so many people here invested in the neighborhood and I know that leadership cares and I understand it’s a really hard job, but it feels like we’re not being heard,” said Owens.
Some even added that they plan to fight to keep the school from closing.
“I feel very frustrated because this shouldn’t be the end. This should not be the end for this 95-year-old school. This school should be here for another 95 years,” said Arteaga.
The Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees still has to vote on whether or not to close the school. The decision is expected to come out of their next board meeting on November 11. Community members can sign up to make public comment at that meeting.