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Growth near CISD could have negative impact on district

It’s one of the fastest growing areas in El Paso, but the significant development in the northwest section of the county could backfire on the Canutillo Independent School District.

A new hospital, retail area and thousands of homes alone are being built by Hunt companies in the Cimarron Development.

“In Cimarron, by 2020, I think we will have a little over 2,000 lots and should have about 2,000 homes on those lots,” Justin Chapman with Hunt Companies said.

CISD board member Adrian Medina says all the growth isn’t necessarily helping in the classroom.

“In the past 10 years we’ve had 8-10 student population growth, but our property values have gone from half a billion to 2-billion dollars, so that scale is going to be property rich and student poor, which is unfortunate,” Medina said.

That means the district can soon hit Chapter 41, where it’s considered a “property wealthy” district and under Texas Education Funding Law, must hand local tax dollars over to the state.

“We’re going that route because our student growth isn’t at the same pace as the property values,” Medina said.

The district’s recent Facilities Master Plan shows Canutillo has only had 8% student population growth, since the 2006-2007 school year.

A district official says the latest school to open up, Reyes elementary, will help attract students in the future, but future projections show essentially no growth district-wide, at a .04 percent decline.

If this happens, the district could be required to give up a big chunk of its tax revenue, for redistribution to property poor districts. The district is now looking at the possibilities before it’s too late.

“We’re going out to have these community dialogues and these dialogues are really, what do you think we need to focus on? And ask the community at large,” Medina said.

The Canutillo district is looking to add more quality programs and improve the curriculum to attract more people to the district.

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