CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — “Why does the South Side always get taken care of first?” said Catarina Perez said.
Perez is one of several families with students in West Side CCISD schools who feel the district's 2022 bond package is neglecting schools in their part of the city.
Her grandson attends Moody High School. She said that some students see investment in their schools as the district's way of showing them they're valued.
“A lot of kids look for those kinds of things to be appreciated,” Perez said. “I feel like a lot of the West Side kids aren’t appreciated.”
A portion of the $220 million proposal would go toward building a new gym at Adkins Middle School, located 2402 Ennis Joslin Rd. A new gym also will be going in at Driscoll Middle School — a West Side school.
CCISD Superintendent Roland Hernandez said the new gym construction is a matter of correcting an oversight, and that all new middle schools will be built with two gyms going forward.
“That is one of those learn-as-you-go situations,” he said. “When we used that school as a prototype, it called for one gym, but we learned real fast (one gym) isn’t enough space.”
Hernandez said a lot has been addressed over time in several bond packages.
“There’s a lot of shift on the South Side,” said Hernandez. “New developments. New subdivisions. New apartment complexes. And so consistent with the elementary school that we put in, the last bond for the new middle school to come down the road. Because you stop and think even — when you start building the school, it’s going to take three to four years to get it up and open.”
Some parents said they acknowledge the growth of the South Side, but this bond doesn’t address the West Side’s needs.
Benny Garcia's nieces also go to Moody.
He said even though all the schools are in the same district, they aren’t treated the same. He said their kids deserve better.
“The fancier schools, even though they are brand-new, they are getting new equipment," said Benny Garcia. "A lot of people are forgetting where they came from.”
He agrees with Perez that it's important for West Side students to have the same amenities as South Side students, because it helps boost their self-esteem.
“All the kids should be treated right so they could all say ‘Well, my school looks good, too, and I’m happy to be here' or 'I don’t wanna be here because the South Side has better things,' ” Perez said.
Some families said many schools in lower-income areas have campuses they say are too old, and have lower-quality equipment such as window A/C units and aging portables.
“All the kids are the same," said Irma Sanchez. "People do forget where they come from once they’re over there. They should be equal.”
Hernandez said that bond proposals are designed taking the whole district into account.
“Really, when we’re putting our packages together we’re really trying to focus on where the greatest needs are, but at the same time, paying close attention to — it’s not all just paying attention to one part of the city,” he said.
He points to new campuses for Zavala Elementary School, Oak Park Elementary School, Rose Shaw Elementary School, J.A. Garcia Elementary School, and Cunningham Middle School at South Park.
“So when you stop and think of the schools that have been addressed on all sides of town, including the West Side, you’ll see many of those schools are new facilities,” Hernandez said.
Sr. Digital Content Producer Ana Tamez contributed to this story.