With the help of the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project, two families are suing Clint Independent School District for unequally funding students attending schools in the district.
“Our kids need justice,” said Claudia Garcia, one of the plaintiffs. “When you see the kids play sports like football, you see that the Clint High School students have nice uniforms, very new. And my kids are getting frustrated because the uniform is torn and has to be sewn. We shouldn’t have to do that. They have the money.”
Texas School expenditure data cited in the lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday August 29th, showed that $9,983 were spent per student at Clint High School in 2009/2010. Clint High also received a new $45 million school building from the district to start the 2012/2013 school year. In comparison, neighboring Mountain View High School received $8,492 per student in 2009/2010, while Horizon City High School received $6,471. Student enrollment differed widely across the schools as well – Clint High School had 594 students, while Horizon City had 938 students, and Mountain View had over 1,000.
The funding disparity extended to middle schools in the district as well.
“I’ve heard complaints from community members about limited resources for sports programs, uniforms and the quality of the facilities,” said Jed Untereker, attorney for the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project. “I’ve also heard that these area high schools (Mountain View and Horizon High School) do not have the same amount of Advanced Placement or dual courses offered and the class sizes are larger.”
Dual-credit courses allow students to take college courses at no extra cost, and receive college credit, which will help them earn degrees faster. Advanced placement courses, however, require a test at the end of the semester to receive college credit.
Untereker said he feels that the Texas school district could resolve the spending discrepancies for students and expenditure discrepancies by changing the district’s representation from at-large to single-member districts to ensure equal representation. Currently, six of the district’s board members live in Clint, while only one is from Horizon City.
Juan Cruz, the lawyer for Clint ISP, stated that the district makes every effort to provide equal funding to students, and that funding depends on a variety of factors which parents and students may not be aware of. Texas School District officials are referring all questions about the lawsuit to Cruz.
The decision to sue the district came after community members and officials from the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project and the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization said the district ignored their pleas for 16 years. Rev. Ed Roden-Lucero, co-chairman of EPISO, is concerned about further delays which will decrease the quality of education for thousands of students. “We wanted them to go ahead and approve the process, not another study,” he said. “This is just like the last time. This is something that will just delay it further.”
Anti-discrimination laws exist to prevent disparities like the one the Clint ISP is facing. If you feel that you or a loved one are being discriminated against, by your employer or a state agency, you should speak with an attorney regarding the facts of your case. The experienced lawyers at Strom Law, LLC, offer free consultations to help get you on the right path. Please contact us today. 803.252.4800.