GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Living across the street from Lamar School for the last 30 years, Diana Gorski wonders how her view will change in the next couple of weeks.
A site assessment team from the federal government is looking at the vacant school as a shelter for some of the 2,000 immigrant children detained at the southern Texas border.
“I don’t want to see a barbed wire fence up over there to keep in,” said Gorski of her concerns.
Neighbors and Grand Prairie residents have questions about how the site will be made into a shelter, and whether it will come at a cost to local tax payers.
“Your written duties are to support the children and the residents of this city,” said Brian Gordon, a Grand Prairie resident opposed to sheltering the kids at Lamar School.
Thursday night, people packed into a the Grand Prairie ISD school board meeting. Twenty people made comments during the public form. Nine objected to the plans for a shelter, and eleven spoke in support of it.
“These children aren’t here asking to be put up in the Ritz Carlton. They’re not asking for eggs benedict for breakfast,” said Rev. Kathi Johnson, a local church pastor, calling on support for the plan.
The first point Superintendent Dr. Susan Hull made, was to tell the audience the decision to allow the government to use Lamar School has yet to be made.
“One thing you can trust is that the seven [board members] up here will make a decision in the best interests of the school district,” said Dr. Hull.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins – one of the main proponents of the shelter effort, says a site assessment team was at Lamar Thursday, and will return on Friday.
District leaders say Lamar School is not move-in-ready; it needs upgraded plumbing, restrooms and sprinklers, as well as a new kitchen.
Jenkins is still pushing for the sites — including Lamar School, Hulcy Middle School, and a Parkland Hospital building — to be ready to house children by the end of July.
Superintendent Hull said, on the chance that Grand Prairie ISD would consider using Lamar School again for district needs, leasing the building out to the federal government for the next several months would be one way to upgrade the facility without using local tax dollars. Federal dollars would pay for the fixes needed to bring the school back up to code.
Dr. Hull says it could be another few weeks before the school board makes a decision.
Diana Gorski hopes there will be a benefit for the children and for her neighborhood.
“I just pray that [the kids] will be okay and they will have guidance. And that people will be able to take care of them,” said Gorski.
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