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Parents Angered by Potential Local School Closure

Education

Coppell ISD Administration Building | Image by NBC DFW

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A recent meeting of the Coppell Independent School District (CISD) Board of Trustees prompted worry among parents who fear the district might shutter one of its best-performing elementary schools.

District leaders intended to solicit community input on a bond proposal Thursday night. Instead, they received considerable pushback from parents after a committee tasked with presenting budgeting scenarios suggested the bond proposal would call for the closing or repurposing of one elementary school.

Parents believe that campus would be Pinkerton Elementary School, which operates within an 82-year-old building that is reportedly in the worst shape in the district, according to NBC 5.

Many showed up to the meeting on Thursday in pink “Protect Pinkerton” shirts and voiced their concerns to the board.

“It might not be explicit, but looking at their latest slide deck from the bond committee meeting on November 1st, we can all read between the lines,” stated district parent Tom Emrich, speaking with CBS News.

For its part, CISD contended it currently has no plans to close down Pinkerton Elementary. Still, Emrich and other parents feel disturbed by the possibility.

“Just the fact that option was on the table made many Pinkerton parents like myself upset. How is that even an option?” Emrich asked.

Julie Waters, another district parent, told NBC 5, “We have kindergarteners, first graders coming home crying to the parents going, ‘Why is my school closing?’ We just finally got over COVID; the kids suffered a huge loss. To bring this in now is extremely insensitive.”

In a statement to CBS News, the district fired back:

“These parents are making assumptions that are simply not true. CISD is currently in a preliminary bond planning process with a bond committee, which serves in an advisory role to assist the district and the board of trustees in assessing and prioritizing district needs. CISD is being very transparent about this process and giving our community several opportunities for feedback.”

Some parents, however, feel that CISD has been anything but transparent.

“I have a lot of questions,” said district parent Kristin Song. “I want to know how we got here and what’s happening. I feel like info hasn’t been free-flowing.”

Despite the district’s denials, it is unclear what the future holds for the campus, which routinely outperforms statewide metrics for student achievement. It scored an “A” letter grade on its most recent Texas Education Agency accountability report.

Overall, CISD has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic in relatively decent shape, clocking strong STAAR test scores and a near 100% on-time high school graduation rate last academic year. These starkly contrast with districts like Dallas Independent School District (DISD), which struggles to sufficiently educate its students.

DISD, the biggest school district in North Texas, has continued to lag behind the majority of school districts in the state, with only 41% of its students performing at grade level or above and dropout rate increases, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.

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