GRAND PRAIRIE (CBS 11 NEWS) – Local school officials say the arrival of unaccompanied children, who were caught at the border, to Dallas County could be “pushed back”.
While Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said as many as 2,000 children from the border will be coming to Dallas County by the end of July, almost no work has been done by the federal government to prepare at least two of the three potential shelter sites.
Officials with both the Dallas Independent School District and Grand Prairie ISD, who have offered empty school buildings to be used as shelters, said the facilities are far from ready. So far, no work has been done by federal contractors at either Lamar Alternative School in Grand Prairie or D.A. Hulcy Middle School in south Dallas.
Both schools have not been is use in more than a year and neither school district had plans to use them this upcoming school year for anything other than storage.
Grand Prairie ISD officials said they have serious doubt whether the former Lamar Alternative School building will be ready by the end of July. “I think that time frame may get pushed back,” said Grand Prairie ISD spokesperson Sam Buchmeyer. “That is my feeling because of the scope of work that has to be done.”
Buchmeyer said the district is still waiting to hear definite plans from the federal government about the use of its facility. Grand Prairie ISD leaders said plans will first be discussed with city officials as well as the local police and fire departments before moving forward.
Any lease contract would also likely have to be approved by the school board first, which could further delay the arrival of the children.
“We want our local officials to feel comfortable with the plan,” Buchmeyer explained.
In preliminary meetings with the county and federal officials, Grand Prairie ISD said it was told Lamar Alternative School would house roughly 500 children and most of the children would be between the ages of two and eight-years-old. The one exception would be older siblings. Families are going to be kept together.
Despite the potential delay, Buchmeyer said the district is committed to helping in the effort,
“It’s about helping children,” said Buchmeyer. “And that’s what we do.”
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