I would like to start this week's column by first reviewing some of the facts about Robstown Inependent School District and the number of campuses and number of students.

Robstown ISD presently has eight campuses - Robstown High School, Seale Junior High School, Ortiz Intermediate School; four elementary schools - Hattie Martin, San Pedro, Lotspiech, Salazar and the Alternative Learning Campus. This year we have 3,404 students enrolled as of last week.

Last week's column attempted to point out that with our declining student enrollment and unexpected expenses of fuel, electricity and food, the administration has presented two proposals to the Board of Trustees to consider. The first proposal was to build one campus by combining San Pedro, Salazar and Hattie Martin and leave Lotspiech at its present location.

The second proposal is to build a new Lotspiech, and a new San Pedro, and make them pre-kindergarten to fifth grades and combine Salazar and Hattie Martin and sends the students to Ortiz making Ortiz an EE-5th grade campus. Seale Junior High would house grades sixth to eighth grade. Robstown High School would remain 9th to 12th grades.

Our neighbors Callalan and Tuloso-Midway have five and four campuses respectively. These few campuses give our neighbors flexibility on controlling costs. The savings can be used for staff and student benefits. That is not to say that they are not experiencing the financial challenges like the rest of the districts.

Why should we reduce the number of campuses and reconfigure the grades? The administration is recommending these proposals to improve educational facilities for student, and provide an improved learning and save environment for our students. Lastly, the increased costs make keeping eight campuses cost prohibitive. Again, we can avoid the tough decision but to do so will take local control away from the district in deciding its destiny.

The advantages are numerous for the changes

1. The reconfiguration maintains the neighborhood concept.

2. Improved student and teacher academic coordination.

3. Students are indoors 100 percent of the time.

4. Improved working conditions for staff and students.

5. All campuses will have State of the Art technology.

6. Provides for an enclosed and save environment.

6. All campuses will have indoor physical exercise mini gyms.

7. Build stronger student and teacher relationships

8. Campuses will have constant climate control.

9. New facilities invite community growth and pride

10. The library collections will increase.

The advantages for change are numerous. The district would reduce electricity costs by approximately $225,000 annually. Additional advantages would be that all the campuses would be new. Seale is a year old. Once the TEA notifies us of our IFA award, we will soon build San Pedro and Lotspiech elementary schools. Ortiz will be very inviting because it is only about fifteen years old.

These changes will give the RISD all new campuses except for the RHS. If the community desires, then we can prepare a plan to pursue more IFA grants, that gives our district approximately 78 percent free State dollars to build new facilities for our students.

I hope that the Board of Trustees and the community understand that the decisions will be difficult but our district will move forward.

Roberto Garcia is the superintendent for the Robstown Independent School District. Readers may contact him via telephone at 767-6600, ext. 2223.