LISD and UISD land dispute comes to a head

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Laredo ISD has voted unanimously to use close to $3 million to purchase a vacant land in south Laredo, the same land that about 2 months ago had United ISD raise boundary line concerns.

Laredo ISD says they are pretty much landlocked as their student body only keeps growing, but they also point out there has been another school built beyond the district's area, and although the State of Texas is still reviewing the case, LISD has a confident approach.

An unanimous decision during a Laredo ISD board special meeting late Monday gave the nod for the district to move forward with plans for the relocation of one of its schools.

"After much exploration and negotiations, the board decided that this was a very good option and a good fit for the future of Cigarroa Middle School," said Veronica Castillon from LISD.

About $2.8 million dollars will be used to buy a 23 acre land close to the south Ejido and Lomas Del Sur intersection. This is the same land that created a dispute with United ISD last November, after UISD disagreed with LISD’s plan because the land and the proposed school would sit inside UISD boundaries.

Something UISD says they cannot do.

"We believe it's on the boundaries. LISD is 13.3 square miles inside the city limits and there's very little land available for us to build projects the size of Cigarroa Middle School.”

Castillon says the district has other schools with a similar case, and adds state officials are currently reviewing the Cigarroa Middle School project.

State law does allow school districts to operate schools outside their boundaries if they are located at a university, just like LISD's early college high school at TAMIU.

However, it is less clear on whether a school district may acquire a property for the purpose of building and operating a school outside of their boundaries.

"We do have a high school built at TAMIU university, and that is outside of LISD's boundary lines, but it can happen. That's why we are waiting for the Attorney General's Office opinion."

But they are positive things will be in their favor.

"The next step would be for LISD to finalize the architectural plans with our architect on record for this project, and then to work with the construction company who is going to build the new school."

This is also a result of rebuilding Cigarroa High School, the current Cigarroa Middle School will be demolished and that land will be used to expand the high school.

For right now, we know that the project would take two years to be completed, after construction starts.

The new campus will be able to house the close to 1,300 students currently enrolled in Cigarroa Middle School.

As of now both UISD and LISD have submitted requests to the State's Attorney General for legal clarification.

Late last year the Attorney General did send a response to both districts saying that they were going to request additional input from other third party entities in coming to a conclusion.