Premont ISD Still Has Work to Do After Cutting Sports
PREMONT — The hallways at this rural town’s only high school were deserted on a Tuesday afternoon in January, much to Enrique Ruiz’s delight. It meant everyone who had shown up for school that day was in class — a sight that Ruiz, the school’s principal, has learned not to take for granted.
Getting students to school and keeping them there has become a matter of survival for the 570-student Premont Independent School District, where lagging attendance rates are hurting the district financially and academically. The district received notice in July that it would face closing because of its years of poor academic performance and shoddy finances.
The South Texas district has made drastic moves to improve its finances — including cutting high school sports — and in December the Texas Education Agency granted it another year to reach certain benchmarks and avoid closing. But as Premont ISD struggles to make improvements, critics blame the state’s accountability and school finance systems, saying they unjustly punish districts that serve largely low-income populations and get meager per-student financing.
“This is a fight that’s going to replay itself until school finance is done,” said state Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, who graduated from Premont High in 1998. “More rural communities are going to go through the same thing because they just can’t pass those exams.”
>> Read more.