Montgomery ISD parents say 'No' to dual language program consolidation

Legislators in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate have different plans to fix the beleaguered public education financing system.

Legislators in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate have different plans to fix the beleaguered public education financing system.

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Montgomery ISD weighs consolidating dual language program amid parent pushback
Montgomery ISD is facing concerted opposition from parents for its proposal to consolidate its dual language program for students who want to learn in both English and Spanish. A group of parents spoke at an Oct. 15 MISD board meeting to share their concerns with the district.

The district is considering consolidating the program in the 2020-21 school year but had yet to reach a final decision as of press time, Director of Special Programs Jada Mullins said.

The proposal is to move MISD’s dual language program—which is currently offered at Stewart Creek and Lincoln elementary schools—to one campus, Montgomery Elementary School, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. The decision follows MISD’s projections for a $4.4 million budget shortfall for the 2019-20 school year. As of press time, Community Impact Newspaper has not received a response from MISD on how much money the consolidation could save the district.

According to the district, the benefits of consolidating include increased teacher collaboration and planning; shared resources; maximum use of facilities, transportation and staff; and the option to have two teachers per grade level to split the curriculum load.

But parents such as Christina Guessagba Sato, who has three children enrolled in the program, voiced disapproval. Sato likened the move to segregation, saying it essentially removes Spanish speakers from one school and places them in another.

Isabel Chapa, a dual language parent, said busing students to another campus will cause a disruption.

“For our kids, every little change is a struggle,” Chapa said. “Moving our kids’ program from one school to another slows down their progress.”

Parents also said they feel information is not being communicated clearly and in a timely manner.

At a Sept. 4 dual language program parent meeting she attended, Sato said about 45 families were represented, and although a short presentation was made in Spanish, many parents did not understand the actual presentation, which was made in English.

“No parent approved of the proposed program relocation,” she said.

At the Oct. 15 meeting, multiple parents said they fear the consolidation will lead to less program participation, and funding is dependent on participation.

Chapa said her children have benefited academically and socially from the program. She said parents such as herself are happy to volunteer to help ensure the program’s success.

“We’re here to let you know we want to help make this program even better,” Chapa said.
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