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AG responds to district land dispute

(KGNS)
Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 4:23 PM CDT
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Is it legal for a school district to purchase property outside of its boundary lines?

That’s the question, two local districts in Laredo asked one of the highest offices in the state.

In 2019, Laredo ISD announced plans to purchase land at the corner of south Ejido and Lomas Del Sur in south Laredo.

That land will potentially become the future Cigarroa middle school because currently the middle and high school are under the same roof.

But, their plans are being questioned by United ISD because the property is within their boundary lines.

Both school districts requested an opinion to the Texas Attorney General’s office on what could be done.

On March 9th, the final opinion was released by the office.

The five page response says in part Attorney General Ken Paxton says that the education code does not permit a school district to purchase land outside of boundaries for the purpose of building or operating a school.

The office claims it can only interprets existing law and cannot resolve factual disputes.

Regardless of the request for opinion LISD did voted unanimously in January to purchase the land for close to three million dollars.

LISD sent a release in response that says:

“Laredo ISD’s statement regarding Texas Attorney General Opinion regarding proposed land for Cigarroa Middle School.

Laredo ISD has reviewed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion.

Attorney General Paxton did not interpret the statute at issue as legally preventing or prohibiting LISD from purchasing and constructing the proposed middle school upon the property that is situated in UISD.

Instead, Attorney General Paxton deferred such a decision to a court of law.

However, Attorney General Paxton did suggest in his opinion that LISD and UISD should work together to achieve the common goal of educating the students of Laredo and reach an amicable resolution to the matter.

LISD has always strived to work with its sister District and will do so in this situation as well to hopefully reach a workable arrangement.

LISD will continue to explore its options including meeting with UISD representatives for a potential resolution as suggested by Attorney General Paxton.

However, the critical need for suitable facilities for Cigarroa Middle School students remains.

LISD is committed to providing all of its students with a quality education and facilities that are conducive to learning.”