Decision made: LISD votes to close Dupre Elementary

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LUBBOCK, Texas — The Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees voted Thursday morning in favor of closing Dupre Elementary school, a decision that was controversial since it first came to light publicly on October 19.

A petition was started on November 4 calling for the LISD to not close Dupre.

“When a neighborhood school is closed, one of the main drivers for people to stay or move there is removed,” the petition said. Dupre is located at 2008 Avenue T in the historic Heart of Lubbock Neighborhood.

Constructed in 1927, Dupre is the oldest school building in the Lubbock ISD.

As for the reason to close Dupre, LISD Superintendent Dr. Kathy Rollo said in October, “We have seen the numbers decline each and every year until this year we are actually less than 200 students.”

Because of declining enrollment, it was difficult, LISD said, to provide cost-effective services. Students at Dupre will be given the choice to go to either Carmona-Harrison or Brown Elementary School.

The LISD has experienced overall decline in enrollment for 10 years. Much of the city’s development has been outside the older areas of the city and outside the LISD’s boundaries.

Typically, it has been a 1 percent decline yearly, but it was 3.4 percent during COVID, according to information presented during the board meeting. Since 2015, the district has lost 3,000 students — 21% of its overall population. Dupre Elementary has suffered the worst of this trend, losing a third of its population since 2015 and serving under 200 students today.

The administration told the board, “The cost per student at elementary schools with 200 students is approximately $6,500, while the cost per student at schools with greater than 550 students is approximately $5,000.”

“Nobody feels great about having to make a decision like this. But I do think it’s the best one that we can make right now for the best number of LISD students,” President of the LISD Board of Trustees Zach Brady said. “I think they will find over time that we can offer more services to students, more wraparound services like counseling [and] additional specialized instruction at a larger school, in terms of student population, than we’ve been able to do at Dupre.”

The building will be repurposed, Dr. Rollo said, possibly as a daycare for LISD staff. Future planning was still in the works, she said.

Many parents and neighborhood residents, however, hoped to preserve the community and the small learning environment Dupre provides their children.

“Our kids aren’t asking for a full-time counselor, they’re not asking for a full time librarian,” pastor Karen Owens told the board. “They’re asking for a small school where they are known, where they are seen.”

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